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i^ctD gorfe ,,,, , 
£>tate College of Agriculture 
^t Cornell H^ntbertfttp 

Stbaca, ^. 19. 





SB 455.B33'"*"""""'*">"-»'rary 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

















. Redit agricolis labor actus in orbem, 
Atque in se sua per VMtigia yolvitur annus. 

Vekgil, Gear. 11. 





THE concluding pages for the month of June 
appeared in an extended form as an article 
on "The Vogue of the Garden Book" in the 
Nineteenth Century Review for June, 1900 ; the 
description of the May-day revels is condensed 
from a story in the Cornhill Magazine of June, 
1897 ; the incident of Meshach Werge's treasure 
appeared in the number of In Town for January, 
1897 ; and four other short sketches have been 
published in The Country and the St. James s 

To the editors of those periodicals I beg to offer 
my thanks for their kind permission to use the 
articles or portions of them here. 

I am grateful also to two friends for help in the 
chapters on the country and garden in autumn. 

H. M. B. 

Hoe Benham 

November, 1902 


































"may I. C. U. HOME, MY DEAR?" . 





"what do HE SAY, BETTY?" 
















. Frontispiece 





to face 





to face 






to fact 

page 87 


to fact 

page 94 



















mr. griskin the butcher 
"wb always looks after the sex " 
he had omitted to touch his hat 
"and I'm not loving you now". 

"is it ME you want TO SEE?" 



to face page 216 


"thee an' I 'ooL battle" 







" OH, MR. GHOST, DON't 'EE HURT I ! " 




to face page 98 

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T F I had the making of my garden over 


^5- JL again I think it should be only a wild 
garden. There should be no flower-beds near the 
house, and all my best plants should be grown in 
wide borders in the kitchen plots. Close up to 
the door would come fine turf, and grouped in it 
there would be heather, gorse, broom, and other 
native plants and shrubs, with winding natural 
paths between. Further away I would encourage 
in a bosky dell grass of a more rampant sort, in 
which I might naturalise some of the garden plants 
which are best adapted to this method of treatment. 
There should be leafy borders, wet ditches, natural 
rocky elevations, or elevations which would look 
natural, and each with its carefully planted groups 
of subjects fitted for their positions, all trying to 
persuade the observer that they grew in a wild 



state. But near the house there should be only 
my unadorned nature garden of turf and gorse 
and heath, arranged in Nature's own fashion of 
simple graceful lines which man has not yet learnt 
to improve upon. 

But my garden, small as it is, is an actual fact 
which has to be faced as it stands. To the south 
of the house and sloping away from it are several 
beds of roses, a single variety in each bed, thickly 
underplanted with spring bulbs. To the north, 
beyond a natural terrace, lie flower - beds, the 
croquet lawn, and some long borders. Beyond 
these borders again is a young orchard thinly 
planted with bush and standard trees, with well- 
kept grass paths intersecting it. There is no 
boundary fence between garden and orchard ; the 
paths of the latter lead out of the garden paths, 
and are a continuation of them. This orchard is 
my wild garden. 

On the left side as I walk up the sloping ground 
the land lies in a low bank which is planted 
with broom and heather. The common European 
paeonies show their heads over the grass in May ; 
polyanthuses and primroses abound close to the 
path, and everywhere there are spring bulbs. 

On the right lies the main portion of the orchard, 
and in the grass there are planted many good 
things. Oriental poppies show their strong foliage; 
perennial lupins come up in large masses ; sweet- 
williams are dotted about plentifully, michaelmas 
daisies, irises, giant rheums, foxgloves, alkanets; 
doronicums, evening primroses, St. John's wort — 
these are some of the plants which abound in the 


grass. They are by no means the only ones which 
have been tried. More things have failed in my 
wild garden than have thriven there. But failures 
have been due mainly to my own ignorance, which 
encouraged me to try impossible plants and an 
impracticable method of growing them. 

Every keen gardener has, doubtless, some main 
ideal to which other equally valuable intentions 
are subordinated. One, for instance, likes to have 
a garden picture ; another, regardless of aesthetic 


effects, is satisfied with a gorgeous show of colour. 
My own chief aim is neither of these. I want 
flowers for cutting all the year round. I want 
them from my garden for seven or eight months 
of the year, and when I cannot reasonably expect 
them in the open I want them from my greenhouse. 
I like to have large quantities of them to live with, 
and to give to friends. Flowers in the greenhouse 
thirty yards away give me no pleasure when I am 
sitting on a cold winter's day in my drawing-room. 
Flowers in the garden are essential, but in the 


sitting-rooms they are no less necessary. In fact, 
wherever one lives there are flowers wanted, and 
consequently the plants in my garden are mainly 
those whose blossoms are suitable for gathering 
and arranging in vases, thus paying a double debt 
— in their beds first, for a short space, and after- 
wards in the rooms wherein I live. 

I am bound to confess that much as I should 
like to have a real garden wilderness I think it 
would be impossible to get flowers enough from 
it to justify me in giving up all my ground to it. 
Deficiencies would be made up of course from the 
kitchen plots, whose reserve borders for flowers 
would be a necessity of the scheme. For the best 
show in a wild garden is over by July. In April 
come, with primroses and lungworts, countless bulbs 
of a hundred kinds ; in May pseonies, fritillaries, 
poet's narcissus, broom — all under a canopy of 
apple blossom. In June there follows a brilliant 
display, looking glorious in the long grasses, but 
from July onward the picture changes. The brown 
seeding grass is hardly less beautiful, but the 
flowers thriving in it are fewer and less showy 
than hitherto. It would be vain to depend upon 
them for the many purposes for which flowers 
are required ; so the kitchen borders would be 
wanted to fill the gaps and to prevent a famine in 
the land. 

Everything that is not needed elsewhere is thrust 
out into my wild garden. All the bulbs which have 
bloomed in pots, all the scraps of herbaceous plants 
whose rampant growth has entailed division, all the 
seedlings not wanted in the borders — these find 


a place in the herbage, and thrive there according 
as they hold their own with it or no. Refuse seeds 
are thrown broadcast into it, in the hope that a 
stray one here or there may find a nook in which 
it will germinate. There are few which have not 
been tried in it, though not many have done well. 

It is of no use to dibble plants among the grass 
and to go away in the confidence that they will live 
there. I have tried that plan with egregious 
failure as a result. Good -sized irregular -shaped 
beds should be dug, and the turves turned over so 
that the grass shall die. These beds may have an 
autumnal planting of things likely to repay the labour, 
and may then be left alone. Apart from the 
blooms they give they will look bare for the first 
summer, but the surrounding grass will quickly seed 
itself upon them, and in the second year the flowers 
will be really springing from the grass, and the 
effect will be beautiful. Colonies can be established 
in this way year after year, until in the course of 
time all the ground is covered with flowering plants 
with sparse grass between. Bulbs can be dibbled 
into these beds as they come to hand. 

There is no reason why many beautiful plants 
from all quarters of the world should not be 
naturalised in the wild o-arden. Among our own 

o o 

British flora we find as a matter of course growincr 
in grassy places such things as foxgloves, primroses, 
forget-me-nots, asphodels, anemones, columbines, 
and a thousand others. Is there any valid reason 
why in association with them we should not grow 
under similar conditions exotics belonging to the 
same families ? I trow not. Mr. William Robinson 


in his delightful book, The Wild Garden, tells us 
how good results may be secured in this way. 

The yellow foxglove, one of the hardiest and 
most robust of plants, would be a fit companion for 
its spotted relative ; the Asiatic primroses for the 
English. There are perhaps a good half-dozen 
plants of the forget-me-not family which would 
thrive with our own beautiful blue spring flower, 
and the same may be said of the columbine in its 
season. But even these might yield place in point 
of fitness to the many bulbous things which could 
not fail to do well in the herbage. Imagine an 
orchard glittering in springtime with the narcissus 
of a hundred varieties ; with the nodding star of 
Bethlehem, too seldom seen ; with the fritillary in 
many forms, the Spanish hyacinth in two or three 
colours, the scarlet tulip, the scilla, the dog's-tooth 
violet, the snowflake, and many more ! The 
imagination can hardly picture anything in nature 
more beautiful than this. And the spring show 
would be succeeded by a summer show as beautiful 
and even more striking, and, moreover, helped out 
by waving grass growing naturally among the 
flowers. I do not know any kind of gardening 
more effective than wild gardening in its season. 

Many persons who have no grass meadow to 
devote to a wild garden could at least do some- 
thing to improve the terrible shrubbery which 
reigns in every conventional English garden en- 
closure. There are hosts of things that will 
flourish even in such hostile society as that of deep- 
rooting lilacs and light-excluding laurels. It would 
be an idle effort to attempt to persuade the average 


Englishman to abolish his belt of laurels and 
berberis. But it might be possible to induce him, 
at any rate, so to diminish their number that each 
tree shall have room sufficient to assert itself and 
to justify its existence. A laurel allowed to grow 
into its own natural shape is not a hideous object 
in the garden — no tree that is natural is ever un- 
beautiful. But a laurel crushed up against its 
neighbours into a shapeless mass is ugly enough to 
make the aesthetic soul eschew for ever the whole 
laurel family. If this shrub is essential to the well- 
being of the Englishman, there is, at any rate, no 
sufficient reason why he should not have it in its 
best form, which is its natural form. And if it is 
given a prominent place in the garden landscape — 
a thing lamentable when its room could be taken 
by flowering shrubs of real beauty — there might be 
encouraged under it herbaceous plants which would 
transform the shrubbery into something approaching" 
distinction. Michaelmas daisies would thrive there, 
evening primroses, delphiniums, wallflowers, tril- 
liums, and many more, with such bulbs as lilies, 
irises, tulips, cyclamens, muscaris, and crocuses. 
There is infinite scope even in the terrible shrub- 
bery for good and tasteful gardening, provided the 
interspaces are large enough to allow their occu- 
pants to maintain their identity. 

My garden, as I have said, is an accomplished 
fact, so that I cannot do the thing that I would. It 
is only by gardening that one can learn what right 
gardening is. I have had my opportunity, and have 
misused it. But the part I love best of my small 
domain is not the trim grass lawn with its carefully 


tended borders above and beds below ; not the rose 
plot with its several hundred bushes half hidden in 
the spring by a blaze of flowering bulbs. My 
favourite resort is the wild garden of the orchard, 
which, even in late summer, when its grass grows 
brown and brittle in the wind, gives me a fuller 
conviction of what true gardening should be than 
do the tidy rose-beds and the carefully tended 
borders beside the smooth lawn. 

But if one cannot have the garden that experience 
has taught is the best and the most beautiful — if life's 
opportunities can never repeat themselves — one may, 
at any rate, make the best of the garden as it exists 
after several years of loving tendance have brought 
a certain amount of result in return for the trouble 
spent upon it. As a garden it may only be a poor, 
small thing, but at least it is my own, and cramped 
and stupid as it may appear to the casual observer, 
it yields as many flowers as any other of double its 
size with which I am acquainted. 

But the struggle for results has been a hard one. 
When I first took to gardening- I began with the 
very simple plan of growing everything I could get. 
Nothing came amiss with me, whether from the 
auction room, or the retail salesman, or the gardens 
and greenhouses of my friends. It seems to me in 
retrospect that one day I said, " Go to ; I will make 
a garden." And forthwith I bought largely of what 
sellers had to offer, supplemented by what friends 
had to give, and then sat down to enjoy the results 
of my labour. These were unforeseen and peculiar. 
I had scorned the idea of growing snapdragons, 
and larkspurs, and Canterbury bells, and suchlike 


common things, and a close study of the growers' 
catalogues led me to indulge plentifully in the 
ostrowskia magnifica, the romneya coulteri, the iris 
laevigata, the crinum longifolium, the meconopsis 
wallichii, and other glorious and important-sounding 
subjects. When summer came the ostrowskias ap- 
peared indeed, but only to demonstrate that they 
found their position untenable, and had not the 
slightest intention of thriving in it ; the romneyas 
languished early and quite unreasonably for want 
of water, and when supplied with it disappeared 
altogether ; the irises and the Himalayan poppies 
never came up at all, because the soil was too dry 
for them, and the crinums, though they have 
flourished ever since, have never shown the slightest 
inclination to flower. 

And it was much the same in the greenhouse. 
There were artillery plants which never found heat 
enough to make them explode ; amaryllids that 
stood up bravely in their greenery, but refrained 
from weakening themselves by flower production ; 
yellow callas that did not bloom when blooms were 
wanted. For the most terrible part of the business 
was this, that all through the winter, when blossoms 
would have been valuable, there were none to be 
found in my greenhouse. They reserved them- 
selves for a summer show, and flowered gaily when 
at last — for eventually I had to come down to 
common border plants — the outdoor garden was 
able to supply all I wanted. 

One year's experience of this sort of thing made 
me realise that by some means or another "there 
must be an holteration somewhere," as the gardener. 


Sterculus, says when he goes on the warpath. I 
discovered through a process of exhaustion those 
plants which would bloom in a winter temperature 
such as we are able to maintain in our greenhouse, 
and by degrees I eliminated all that required 
summer sunshine or stove heat to make them 
flower. I cannot boast of the variety which once 
adorned my greenhouse, but at any rate the plants 
that are in it are those which blossom at mid- 
winter, and thus succeed summer things in our 
living-rooms. The results might appear con- 
temptible to many an eye, but in point of quantity 
I think they are the best that can be obtained from 
a thousand cubic feet of glass. 

At this time of year, however, and for some 
months to come, the greenhouse is a matter of 
secondary importance, and no flowers, or hardly 
any, will be found in it which required winter 
tendance or room on its stages at that season. 
Achimenes, begonias, gloxinias will presently be gay 
in it, but these have lain under the shelves and have 
given no trouble through the winter. Petunias, bal- 
sams, and other various annuals will lend it bright- 
ness, but they are propagated in spring, and, like 
the tubers, have had no actual winter existence. 
But as the earliest of these things cannot be ex- 
pected to bloom before June, there will be plants 
left over from late winter for the present furnishing 
of the greenhouse, and although these will not be 
very varied, they will be in sufficient quantity to 
keep it bright. 

There would seem, judging from results, to be 
very few persons living in the country and owning 

MARCH 1 1 

a limited amount of glass who really care to have 
flowers all the year round, though I doubt if there 
are any who would confess as much. Yet their 
houses are crowded with plants which bloom from 
March to October, instead of those which bloom 
from October to March. The mischief lies in the 
fact that they are already furnished with hard- 
wooded plants, which year by year occupy more 
room, yet do not give results proportionate to the 
space they exact. But their owners would con- 
template with horror the idea of consigning all 
these things to the rubbish heap. I confess that 
it required some strength of mind and considerable 
hardening" of the heart before I could prrsuade 
myself to do this, and to grow for the most part 
soft- wooded stuff; but the issue has been so much 
more satisfactory that I have never rL-jretted the 
sacrifice of my cherished azaleas, bouvardias, and 
other things of similar habit. 

The plants which, most of all, perhaps, are 
valuable in the winter are the zonal pelargoniums, 
commonly called geraniums, and this is the time to 
get them in hand. Cuttings are taken only from 
those varieties which can endure to bloom in a 
moderate winter temperature, but their name is 
legion, and many dealers now make a speciality 
of them. These cuttings are struck in March, and 
are grown away rapidly for six months, and en- 
couraged by plentiful supplies of water and suitable 
fertilisers to make strong and free foliage. Until 
October they are not allowed to carry a flower, 
each incipient blossom being carefully removed as 
soon as it appears, and until August the branches are 


stopped as they require it, to induce a bushy shape. 
In the hot weather they are placed in the sunniest 
part of the garden, and never allowed to become 
completely dry, and by the month of September, 
when they are housed, they are good strong plants, 
capable of flowering continuously for three or four 
months or more. There are many amateurs who 
fail to get satisfactory results from pelargoniums 
in the winter, but there is no difficulty in doing 
so if the right sorts are chosen and the summer 
routine is carefully observed. Primulas may be 
sown at the end of the month if they are wanted 
for December, and a second sowing in May will 
ensure a succession throughout the winter. 

But it needs a certain amount of tenacity at this 
time of year, when the outside garden is full of 
promise and spring is bursting over the land, to 
do the necessary work that is demanded for next 
winter's enjoyment. The present time is so in- 
finitely better than any future when that present 
time is the spring of the year. And the reward 
which outdoor flowers will give us is nearer than 
that which we can expect from greenhouse plants 
grown for next winter's enjoyment. So the place 
of greenhouse work is taken by work in the garden, 
and there is much to be done in it for a long time 
to come. 

March 24. The pruning of hybrid perpetual 
bushes needs some acquaintance with the individual 
habit of each kind of rose. If separate beds are 
given up to one variety, a glance at the occupants 
at this season will tell, better than any garden book 
could do, what bad habit is to be corrected by 


pruning. Captain Christy, with its upright growth, 
for instance, should be well thinned out at the 
centre ; Countess of Oxford, which is apt to break 
too high, should in this case be cut back to the 
bare, hard, and apparently budless main stems ; 
and the hardly recognisable rings, which at present 
look incapable of bursting into growth, will send 
forth buds which will make good branches and 
flower as soon as any others. Eugen Fiirst requires 
very hard pruning, because it breaks so early in 
the spring ; and with Jean Liabaud a sharp eye 
should be kept on that portion of growth which 
comes direct from the soil, for the stock is apt to 
outgrow the scion unless care is taken. And so 
with all the other roses in a garden, each has its 
idiosyncrasy, and must be corrected in accordance 
with it. The usual rule for pruning is to cut back 
to a dormant bud with an outward tendency, and 
this rule answers exceedingly well until the gardener 
has gained experience of his own and is able to 
modify it in conformity with this experience. 

Nearly all hardy annuals should be sown about 
the end of March, for if this is not done until later 
the sun's power may be so great that the seedlings 
will not make sufficient root growth before they are 
forced into bloom, and so their season will be a 
short one. I have had for several years some 
success with dahlias treated as hardy annuals. The 
seed is gathered in the autumn and sown in March, 
and if May frosts threaten a handful of bracken is 
thrown over the young seedlings. They are thinned 
to a few inches apart, and by the time the carefully 
tended dahlias from indoors are flowering there is 



also a hedge of single and semi-double dahlias in 
the kitchen garden far exceeding them in strength 
and floriferous value, although the blossoms are not 
of correct form or of orthodox habit. Still they are 
exactly what are wanted for cutting, and the supply 
is unfailing until winter frosts lay them low. 

Most of the half-hardy annuals are sown either 
now or in April in pans or boxes in the greenhouse, 
or else in frames outside. Nearly all of them are 
the better for being raised from the first without 
fire heat, and little beds in the open are quite 
practicable for many things in sheltered gardens, 
provided that they have the protection of glass. 
An excellent plan for those who cannot spare cold 
frames for this purpose is to buy a few sheets of 
twenty-one-ounce glass, and to extemporise little 
frames to carry the sheets. One or two laths cut 
into pieces an inch or so smaller in each direction 
than the glass, nailed together and laid on the 
ground, and covered with a sheet of the glass, will 
make an admirable shelter for a little patch of some 
half-hardy annual. As the seedlings grow the laths 
may be raised on bricks, and by this means the 
young plants will be safe until the danger of frost 
is over. They must be thinned as soon as they 
require it, and this is the most important part of 
the whole system of their culture. 

March 25. When Jim first broke away from his 
busy London life, having made up his mind that the 
solitude of the country was more conducive to the 
study of the philosophies than was the quicker, 
strenuous existence he had led since leaving 
the old home, he asked me to share his cottage 


with him, and I cordially agreed to the proposal. 
In the old times my brother had always been my 
closest friend, and nothing could be more natural 
now than that we should make our home together. 
It was literally a case of making a home, for he 
had bought a couple of labourers' cottages with 
a meadow adjoining, and our first summer was 
spent in building an annexe to the original structure. 
This was his province, while the making of the 
garden was mine. House and garden are both 
about seven years old now, and have settled 
down into congenial fellowship. The house looks 
weathered and middle-aged with its fast-mellowing 
brick walls and its sober thatched roof The 
garden with all its faults — and there were many in 
its planning — is not out of harmony with the house. 
Both are simple, humble, natural, as they should be. 

We had in our efforts a valuable coadjutor in 
the person of Sterculus Picumnus, that worthy 
successor of the son of Faunus, who, as Dean 
Hole in one of his most fascinating books has 
reminded us, invented the art of spreading manure 
on the land to enrich it for cultivation. Sterculus 
lived for several years in our employ, and gave 
himself up heart and soul to making our garden ; 
then, tempted by a large wage, he left us a year 
since for a better situation in the North of 
England. Mrs. Sterculus Picumnus, who had 
urged him perseveringly to this course, was a 
person not altogether without insight, and when 
I bade her good-bye she flung her arms round 
my neck and wept on my bosom, crying — 

"Don't lose sight of us; don't lose sight of us! 
We might be glad of you yet." 

1 8 MARCH 

We did not lose sight of them, and they are glad 
of us now, and we of them, after divers unhappy 
experiences with their incompetent or unpleasing 
successors. It is by no means a difficult thing 


to get a good gardener for a large estate ; it is 
extraordinarily difficult to get a good gardener for 
a small one. We tried five in our unhappy year. 
One drank ; a second neglected his work ; others 
proved impossible in various respects. The last 



was an admirable gardener, but he never succeeded 
in living on speaking terms with more than one 
person at a time, his temper being execrable. 
This is the kind of thing that went on : — 
Enter the carrier, expectant of orders. Sterculus 
digging at three yards' distance. 

Sterculus {to the garden boy). " I wants two casts 
o' pots from Davies'." 

Boy {to carrier). "He wants two casts o' pots 
from Davies'." 

Carrier. " What size o' pots ? " 
Boy {to Sterculus). '•' What size o' pots ? " 
Sterculus. " Vorty-eights and twenty-vours." 
Boy {to carrier). "Vorty-eights and twenty-vours." 
Carrier. " All right." 

Sterculus {viciously). " It wun't be all right if he 
breaks 'em." 

Boy {to carrier). "It wun't be all right if you 
breaks 'em." 

Carrier {with fury). "I'll break his head if he 
says I breaks his pots." 

Boy {to Sterculus). " He'll break your head if 
you says he breaks your pots." 

Sterculus {sarcastically). " Let un try." 
Boy {to carrier). " He says, ' You try ' ! " 
Exit carrier in dire wrath. Sterculus being 
triumphantly emergent from the fray, forgives the 
carrier and sets up an antagonism with the cook. 

This sort of thing was rather droll at first, but 
very soon the inconveniences attaching to it made 
the amusement pall, and after several warnings our 
quarrelsome friend was requested to leave us ; and 
presently our own original Sterculus discovered that 


he would "be glad of us" again, and we are all 
happy together once more. He is not flawless, our 
Sterculus. No human being, save Heine, ever yet 
found another human being flawless ; his M'ddchen 
was perfect in every way, but she was unluckily 
dead. We used to think of Sterculus as perfect 
while he was only so far away as Northumberland ; 
but with all his faults we are as glad of him as he is 
of us, and our garden grows and thrives once more 
under his diligent devotion. 

March 2^. We have put Sterculus's brother on 
for a few weeks, to attend to the grass and to get it 
into good order after a whole winter's neglect. It 
is not often that Sterculus will permit us to employ 
extra labour. For one thing he enjoys the grievance 
of being overworked, and takes a sour delight in 
pointing out the results of the labour of " one pair 
o' 'ands." For another, he, being a Wiltshireman, 
has but a small opinion of his neighbours in the 
land of his adoption, and loves to liken them to 
their own famous farm product, the Berkshire pig. 
" I've seen a pig in a garden afore now," he says ; 
"and I cain't say I liked the sight." But he is 
obliging enough to allow us sometimes to employ 
his brother Meshach, who has followed him into 
exile, and Meshach just now is doing a very im- 
portant work. He is a serious young man, who 
is suffering from what is called a "conviction." 
This has nothing to do with the law's majesty, but 
is merely the correct phraseology in our rural dis- 
senting circles for intimating that the sufferer is in 
the first stage of salvation. A conviction of sin is 
a necessary preliminary to grace. This young man 


has been rather " gay " — there is nothing more 
reprehensible in our rustic society than a reputation 
for gaiety, mild as its form may be — and in order 
to remove him from some other undesirable young 
men, Jim got him the offer of a place in Patagonia, 
where, strange to say, many of our lads find work 
and high wages on the sheep farms. When I heard 
that he had refused the situation, I went to ask him 


the reason why. He is a dreamy youth, and he 
answered me in the intervals of turf-edging as 
though his heart and his thoughts were alike in a 
land that is very far off. 

" Ah ! there's many a time as us wants to follow 
out our own plans, and God has got to fetch us 
back to do our work all over again in He's way. 
I be for all the world like Jonah — fetched back to 
work in God's way, not in my way. We've all got 


to be fetched back some time or another, you see, 

" But you never actually started, Meshach." 

" Not perhaps to say started, but my mind had 
gone on afore. Enough fer God to fetch me back, 
anyways. " 

" And why do you think that it would have been 
wrong for you to go ? " 

" I don't think, ma'am. I knows." 

" And how do you know ? " 

" I shud ha' lost time. On that there v'yage 
I'd ha' lost maybe a matter o' five or six months as 
shud ha' bin empl'yed fer God." 

" I don't think you would be more than six weeks 
on the voyage." 

" Maybe not, ma'am ; but I shud ha' lost six 
months fer God. I've figured it all out, an' / 

" But how do you know ? " 

" Well, you see, 'tis like this yen I was a-gwine 
to start this spring. You minds 'twas early in 
March I'd settled to leave. Well, ma'am, what 
season o' the year would it ha' bin when I'd reach 
Patagonia ? " 

"It would have been autumn there, of course. 
Their seasons are different from ours." 

" That's right, ma'am ; it would ha' bin autumn. 
Well now, when I shud come to meet God some 
day, how'd I 'count to Him fer my wasted 
summer ? " 

" But it wouldn't have been wasted " 

" Betwixt spring an' autumn there's alius a sum- 
mer ; there's no gettin' over that. I'd ha' left here 


in spring ; I'd ha' got there in autumn. I wouldn't 
ha' had no summer at all. I'd ha' bin throwin' 
away time as ought to be empl'yed fer God." 


" But the time would be the same " 

" I've worked it all out in my mind. There's 
time lost somewheres. Where 'tis lost I ain't 


scollard enough to judge, nor it don't concern me 
to know more about it. What I looks at is that 
time'd ha' bin lost as I'd ought to spend far God 
710W. That's why I says I was fetched back like 
Jonah. God took care o' me, an' stopped my 
wilful waste of days an' seasons afore 'twas too 

He turned with dreary determination to his clip- 
ping. He did not want to have his conclusions 
combated ; a principle was involved, and his face 
was set firm. There is nothing more interesting 
than the getting at a new point of view in some 

Sterculus is sowing grass seed in bare and shady 
places, and is laboriously protecting it from birds 
with lines of black cotton supported on sticks. 
We do not find that much of it grows when sown 
at this season ; the spring droughts of the last 
years have been too cruel for seeds of many kinds, 
and the end of Auo^ust is a better time for gfrass 
sowing than now. But there are bare places on 
the green paths, and turves are difficult to get, so 
that the second-best course must be resorted to, 
unsatisfactory as it is likely to be. 

I have a great fancy this year to try masses of 
cool blossoms in parts of the borders where there 
are gaps large enough for several clumps together. 
For instance, in July and August, when the blazing 
sun is at his fiercest, and the eye shrinks from 
the pinks and reds and yellows of the gardener's 
choosing, how soothing would be a mass here of 
mauve and blue, and there of white and purple 
generously applied ! So I am planting closely to- 


gether a good many tubers of the fine blue com- 
melina called celestis, and all around and between 
it I shall have plants of the dwarfest and palest 
ageratum, and thus attempt a harmony in these two 
shades. The commelina is not very well known in 
gardens, and some who have it despise it because 
its blossoms are sparse, and mostly at the top of 
the stalk. But if it is planted closely and guarded 
round by plants a little shorter than itself, its 
gentian blue is admirable in beds and borders. I 
find that seed sown afresh every year is the easiest 
method of growing ; but the plant forms slim tubers 
which may be dug up in autumn and kept through 
the winter in pots of sand in a cool greenhouse, 
and this is the plan generally adopted for its repro- 

Petunias are being sown for greenhouse decora- 
tion in summer. The seed is procured from the 
best dealers, as cheap petunia seed is one of the 
many snares of the penny-packet salesman. For 
tubs and boxes out of doors we generally grow the 
old pink variety despised of Sterculus. Its flower 
is small, and not quite of the best shade of colour, 
but its persistence in blooming makes it welcome 
in my garden. It begins to unfold early in June, 
and until November frosts come it is a great sphere 
of colour in tubs under a verandah. Its trailing 
habit soon ensures the complete hiding of the tubs, 
and above and around and below hang the bright, 
rosy blossoms, never shy, never exhausted, never 
complaining, howsoever they may be neglected. 
They are far better worth growing than many 
better things. 


It is hardly too early to plant a few of the tender 
gladioli in the reserve plots of the kitchen garden. 
Frosts may threaten them in May, but it is not 
difficult to protect a dozen plants or so. The main 
.supply will not be set out until next month, as 
gladioli are most valuable late in summer when 
many other flowers are over ; one does not really 
want them until August. 


April I "HIS is "Cuckoo Day," as it is locally 
^4- J. called, and the first taste of spring 
is in the air. Hitherto we have been much 
plagued by cold winds, but to-day the sunshine is 
unspoilt by a north-easterly blast, and the bees 
have come out in myriads to sip honey from the 
arabis albida — mountain-snow, as the rustics call 
it — on the sloping rockery. Notwithstanding 
climatic discouragement there is already a brave 
show of flowering bulbs. Two long beds of tea 
roses, which have just been pruned, are a mass 
of narcissus cynosure, bordered and under-planted 
with blue squills from Siberia, and the contrast is 
very beautiful. In March these squills were asso- 
ciated with white crocuses, but the crocuses are 
over first, as their blossoming time is shorter, and 
the squills have thrown up a succession of bloom 
spikes, which extend their season into that of the 



daffodils. Two other beds are planted thickly with 
mixed hyacinths, another with hyacinths all of pink 
and creamy tints, and yet a fourth with blues and 
cold whites. The effect is delightful. There are 
other beds planted with tulips, but these are not 
yet out of the bud stage. 

It is very rarely that I see in gardens a series of 
beds given over wholly to the combination of roses 
and bulbs, which I consider one of the most satis- 
factory which I have attempted. Rose specialists 
have said so much to discourage the growing of 
anything else with the queen of flowers that many 
amateur gardeners fear to make the experiment. 
The rose fancier naturally looks at the question 
from the circumscribed area of the show table, and 
it is perfectly true that one cannot have show roses 
from beds which in spring have been radiant with 
countless tulips. I do not for a moment contend 
that the largest and most perfect roses can be got 
from these beds ; it is obvious that they cannot. 
But there is a better ideal than this of the exhibitor. 
We do not want show roses, two or three on a 
bush, in our everyday gardens ; we want large 
quantities of blooms average in size, good in shape, 
and perfect in colour — blooms which we can cut by 
the score or the hundred, leaving no gaps to tell 
the tale. Roses of this description can be grown 
with bulbs, and neither the roses nor the bulbs will 
be such as one need be ashamed of. 

Then, again, the bulb fancier hears with horror 
the theory that such things as tulips and hyacinths 
can be permanently planted and left undisturbed 
for years between the roots of rose bushes. To 


him the tulip and the hyacinth are semi-sacred 
things which require annual planting, annual 
trigging, drying and storing. Doubtless his results 
are better than mine, but mine are quite good 
enough to make a very pleasing show in the spring, 
and they give me no labour at any season. My 
hyacinths have been planted for at least five or six 
years and left undisturbed. Their flowers, cer- 
tainly, are not so big as they were in their first 
season, but that is a trifling matter. They are 
quite large enough to give a beautiful effect, and 
they have increased enormously in number since 
they were planted. Some of the spikes, I regret 
to say, are even now bulky enough to require 
staking when March winds blow hard, and after 
five years' trial of hyacinths as permanent in- 
habitants of my rose-beds I am quite satisfied with 
the result. 

It is the same with the tulips. I confess that in 
the first planting I went wrong with these bulbs, 
but it was not in putting them among my roses 
that I erred, but in buying, in some instances, 
inferior varieties. Artus, for example, and Brutus 
attracted me by their cheapness, and two beds 
given over to them are a perpetual eyesore. But 
a large terra-cotta kind, whose name I do not 
know, is as handsome and almost as large as when 
first planted, and another bed of La Reine is 
equally charming, though these have dwindled 
somewhat in size. 

Another rose - bed is given over to the multi- 
coloured crown anemones which are so easily 
grown from seed. Seed sown now and carefully 



tended gives good plants which flower all the first 
autumn, and continue to increase in quantity, if not 
in quality, for many years ; but some people find 
great difficulty in raising these flowers, and a word 


or two detailing my own experience with them may 
be of use. 

A little plot of ground in the sunniest part of 
the kitchen garden should be carefully chosen and 
prepared and watered. The seed may then be 


sown and thinly covered with fine soil, and sheets 
of newspaper laid over all. Under this paper the 
soil must be kept moist the whole of the time that 
the seed is germinating, and herein is the whole 
secret of success. As it entails constant trouble 
and attention the results are generally disappoint- 
ing, but given the necessary conditions, anemones 
can be raised with the greatest ease by the most 
ignorant gardener, and if anything in the whole 
garden looks better in May than a bed of these, 
under-planted with pansies, I should much like to 
see it. 

One warning is necessary with regard to 
anemones grown among roses. The beds must 
not be manured in December, but in August, 
when the tubers are at rest. If the operation is 
delayed until the leaves are shooting up in late 
autumn, they will die. 

April 22. Narcissus cynosure and N. Figaro, 
some of the loveliest of the cheaper daffodils, have 
lost their distinctive character this year through 
the rough, cold weather. The calyx has come 
pure yellow instead of red-tipped, and their full 
beauty is lost. But they are "very plenty," as 
Sterculus says, so there is not much cause for 
complaint. In the wild garden I have these in 
some quantity, as well as many other varieties 
which are greatly increasing every year. 

I do not buy bulbs specially for the wild garden. 
Every autumn I get them in large quantities for 
culture in frames and greenhouse, and in spring, 
when they have served their purpose there, they 
are turned out into the orchard, being carefully 



planted not too closely together. Here they finish 
maturing their root and leaf growth, and here in 
following years they flower in profusion. Each 
season some thousands of daffodils are so treated, 
as are also fritillaries, Italian hyacinths, erythro- 
niums, stars of Bethlehem, crocuses, squills, and 
even tulips, although these, I confess, do not give 
such uniformly good results as other bulbs. They 
come rather small, but make bright spots of colour 
in the green, while all the others do their best 


amongr the herbage which is their natural accom- 
paniment. It is far more satisfactory to pick 
daffodils from a semi-wild spot such as this than 
to rob prominent beds of their occupants, as of 
old I was forced to do. Of course the beds are 
not spared ; the flowers are there to be gathered, 
and nothing is considered immune if it is wanted 
elsewhere. But since I have had my wild garden 
I am bound to acknowledge that the beds present 
a better appearance, as they are less liable to 


One of the best herbaceous plants for the wild 
garden is the sweet-william. Mine were merely 
thrust out into the grass three or four years ago, 
and they hold their own and flower well there. 
Perennial lupins are also promising handsomely, 
with oriental poppies, single rockets, and the 
herbaceous asters, while wallflowers and polyan- 
thuses are a mass of colour, contrasting in their 
sober tints with the gayer bulb colonies and with 
the yellow doronicums which are in brilliant flower 
now, and will last into June. 

Many seeds of perennials should be sown in 
April. Wallflowers, for instance, never make 
noble plants if one waits till summer to sow them. 
Delphiniums, aquilegias, the type pentstemons, 
evening primroses, especially the beautiful creep- 
ing Oenothera taraxacifolia, campanulas, carnations 
are all the better for early attention if they are to 
make strong plants before the winter. 

Beds of wallflowers, common as they are with 
us, can never look amiss if they are of the single 
sort, and one of the best combinations I have is 
of gold and primrose kinds planted each in a 
fair - sized colony running into its neighbour's 
ground. The blood-red one, which is also in- 
dispensable, looks well with the salmon shade, 
and these four colours are all that are needed in 
the ordinary garden. But wallflowers judiciously 
harmonised with bulbs bear off the palm for 
arrangement. A bed of terra-cotta tulips planted 
with blood-red wallflowers, and arranged in squares 
of four — three plants of the square being tulips and 
the fourth a wallflower — is inexpressibly attractive 



when often repeated over a good - sized bed. 
Yellow tulips and primrose wallflowers are as 
good a mixture, and this scheme in general is 
a pleasing change from the invariable carpet of 
forget-me-not or red daisies, from which in most 
gardens the wallflowers spring. Combinations of 
bulbs, too, are a happy variation from old-established 
ideas. A very successful one is that of the dark 
blue hyacinth, General Havelock, with the Orange 
Phcenix narcissus, and another as pretty has alter- 


nate bulbs of the pale blue hyacinth. Lord Derby, 
and the yellow jonquil. 

April 24. How glad is the gardener to get 
the smallest hint which may help in floriculture! 
It would never have occurred to me to grow spring 
bulbs with ferns, yet to-day I have been in a garden 
where the fernery is a mass of tulips and narcissi, 
with tender fronds of the ferns growing beside them, 
and ready to take their place and hide their com- 
panions as soon as these lose their beauty. When 
the flowers are over and the spiky leaves begin to 
get limp, they are cut down to within about four 


inches of the ground, and then the ferns have their 
turn, and the mutilated bulb foliage is hidden away 
under their green skirts until it dies down to the 
earth. This cutting of the foliage does not interfere 
with the next season's flowers, provided that these 
few inches are left to help mature the bulb. The 
effect of the arrangement is delightful at two sepa- 
rate seasons, which is one of the main ends to 
secure in gardening. 

I have just seen the four best plants of cyclamens 
which it has ever been my privilege to behold. 
Not one carried less than two hundred buds and 
blossoms. The proud owner told me their history, 
and I make haste to record it. 

Twelve months ago she was about to throw away 
her plants as old and worthless, when it occurred to 
her to split one of them up, and to see what might 
happen. Accordingly she took a corm of a large 
white kind, and divided it into four pieces, leaving 
some growing points on each and carefully dipping 
the raw edges into powdered charcoal to heal the 
cuts. They were potted up separately into five- 
inch pots, and put on a greenhouse shelf near the 
glass until they began to grow, when they were 
removed to a cold frame. Twice a day they were 
syringed, and of course duly watered, and in August 
they were shifted into pots one size larger, and 
before cold weather came were removed into a cool 
house, from which frost was barely excluded. Here 
they have remained all through the winter, getting 
plenty of air and daily moisture overhead as well 
as at the roots. The soil, which was firmly rammed 
into the pots, consisted of two parts of turf mould. 


with one part of peat, one of leaf mould, a little 
soot, and a liberal quantity of sharp sand. The 
results are almost incredible, except to one who 
has seen them. 

My dislike to growing greenhouse plants which 
have to stand a winter before their flowering 
season comes does not apply to such things as 
may be kept through that season in a cold 
frame, so I have just been sowing seeds of the 
chimney campanula to decorate the greenhouse 
a year or more hence. They are sown thinly in 
a pan of sandy soil in the cool house, and the 
seedlings, when they are large enough to handle, 
are pricked out into thumb-pots in a light compost, 
and then moved to a frame. They are given a 
shift as often as they need it, which may be twice 
or thrice throughout the summer, care being taken 
to prevent their getting pot-bound at any time. In 
the winter they are kept in a protected cold frame, 
although no special anxiety is felt about them if 
they suffer a few degrees of frost. At the end of 
February, or soon after, they receive their final 
potting into seven-inch pots, or even larger if 
necessary, and they are then placed in the green- 
house to encourage them to move. As soon as the 
flower stems appear weak liquid manure is applied 
twice a week, and at all times plenty of air is given. 
They make large and well-furnished plants, pro- 
vided that care is taken to keep them as cool as 
I have indicated through all their stages of growth, 
for hardy things will not do theif best if unduly 
coddled. These and the cup-and-saucer campanulas 
are among the most beautiful plants which can be 


grown for the adornment of the greenhouse in early 
summer, and it is wonderful that they are not more 
seen, although no doubt the reason lies in the 
trouble that has to be taken to ensure stocky growth. 
Another important provision for future needs is 
the planting out of violets for autumn blooming. 
We generally try to use for this purpose only the 
tufts which have lived out of doors all the winter, 
as they are hardier and healthier than those which 
have been in frames. Each separate runner is 
taken from the old plants and put out in a well- 
prepared bed. If there are not runners enough 
single crowns are used, and the plants are placed 
a foot apart. They should not be in a shady spot, 
though the partial shade of thin fruit trees will not 
hurt them, and will save some watering in dry 
weather. But the labour of watering must not 
in any case be grudged them, for on this will de- 
pend their value next winter. They should have 
a good soaking whenever they seem to be getting 
dry, and a certain amount of weak manure water 
when they are approaching maturity will also help 
them. All young runners are removed as they 
appear, and at the end of August we go round 
the roots with the spade at a distance of several 
inches from the plants. This leads them to throw 
out new fibres, which, when the plants are trans- 
ferred to the frames about the third week in 
September, will the more easily accommodate 
themselves to their new soil and prevent any 
check being felt from lifting. At the time of their 
removal they will be bristling with buds, and unless 
they suffer from too much kindness directly after- 


wards they should give large quantities of flowers 
from October onwards. 

The first sowing of cinerarias for the winter is now 
being made, and cuttings of fibrous-rooted begonias 
are being struck. This necessity of forethought 
is generally supposed by persons who are not 
gardeners to be an intolerable nuisance, but it is in 
reality one of the joys of floriculture ; the flowers 
are so much the more one's children if one has 
cherished them and loved them before they had 
their birth. And forethought for a season twelve 
months hence is no more difficult than forethought 
for the near summer, when once the gardener has 
lived in the routine of it. It would be as impossible 
for him, or for her, to forget to strike winter zonal 
pelargoniums in March as to ignore their flowers if 
they are in bloom at that season. The very name 
of the month suggests the culture of some plants, 
just as it suggests the flowering of others ; and this 
habit, once established and applied to each season 
in succession, becomes a habit of devotion as well 
as of necessity. April, for instance, suggests the 
pruning of tea roses, the planting of gladioli, the 
flowering of fritillaries, and a hundred other things 
which never occur to the remembrance in July or 
August or any other inapposite month. The 
experienced gardener has no need of a calendar 
to remind him of each season's work, for each is its 
own remembrancer and sufficient unto itself for the 
purpose. But it is the most experienced who will 
have such fear of forgetting that he will renew his 
memory and give it artificial support by the aid of 
the garden diary. 



I think Jim is the most reclusive man that I have 
ever known ; he is also entirely different from any- 
body else, which is so very comforting in a person 


with whom one has to live. For one thing, he 
never says anything. I do not mean that if you 
ask him a question he will not reply " yes " or " no," 
or that he will refuse to do a fair amount of conver- 
sational duty when the necessity is forced upon him. 


But he never thrusts conversation upon you, nor 
gets opinionative, nor lays down the law, nor in any 
way expresses himself when he can possibly 
refrain from so doing. This characteristic is so 
utterly different from any that the average man can 
boast that it amounts to the charm of eccentricity 
of the best kind. 

Another remarkable thing about Jim is that he 
never tries to coerce anybody. If a servant or 
other person takes it into his head to behave in an 
extraordinary manner, Jim never for a moment 
dreams of checking him ; "I daresay he's all right, 
really," he says. And it is the same thing even 
with the animals. He has to keep his hands in his 
pockets at meal times, except when he is making 
use of them, because his favourite cat claws them 
in order to attract his attention and to induce him 
to give her portions of his food. I have certainly 
heard him make a sudden and somewhat objurga- 
tory remark when he has not taken this precaution, 
and Lydia Die has succeeded in her wicked inten- 
tion. His cat's name is Lydia, though the reason 
why I have never been able to discover, and 
naturally in the course of time she has become 
known as Lydia Die. Any other person would hit 
Lydia Die and break her of her bad habit in a 
couple of days ; but Jim pretends that he does not 
really object to it, although he is very careful to 
resort when necessary to the safe haven of those 
trouser pockets. 

I wonder if absent-minded people know how 
absent-minded they are. One morning, when Jim 
made no beginning to eat his breakfast, I saw him 


lifting up various articles from the table and put- 
ting them back again with an air of dissatisfaction. 
He examined a salt-cellar on every side and under- 
neath ; his teaspoon came in for a considerable 
share of attention, and so did the knives and forks 
in front of him. I passed him the mustard, but 
after looking at it carefully he put it down again. 
Then I said, "Will you have some cold chicken?" 
and he replied dreamily, " No, thank you." 

"Jim," I said, "if you say the word aloud we 
shall very likely be able to find what you are 
looking for. What is it ? " 

" Oh, never mind ; only an appetite," he mur- 
mured, as though his thoughts were millions of 
miles away in space. He has always stoutly 
denied the truth of this story, which makes me 
wonder if absent-minded persons know how absent- 
minded they are. 

Some people might think it uncomfortable to live 
with a philosopher whose real self is in the remotest 
mists of metaphysic when you want to talk about 
snapdragons or carnation layers ; but the oddest 
thing of all is that just when you imagine he is 
living among the ancient Greeks he wakes up to 
you suddenly, and knows everything that has been 
going on. His dreamy blue eyes see to the very 
bottom of you, and I would rather trust his judg- 
ment of character than that of most persons. We 
all went once to be introduced to a new member of 
the family of whom some of us thought we had 
reason to be rather proud. When Jim and I came 
away I said to him — 

" What do you think of Seraphina ? " 


" Delightful ! " replied Jim. 

" What do you think of Seraphina, Jim ?" 

"Very nice, I'm sure." 

"Jim, what do you think of Seraphina?" 

"Well, as a woman I should certainly consider 
her a failure," he answered. 

Some years have passed, and there are others of 
us besides Jim who consider that Seraphina as a 
woman is a failure. 

Sometimes I think that it is not study alone 
which has given Jim his far-away look and quiet 
eyes, and ways too sedate for three-and-thirty years. 
Nor is it poverty, though he had known wealth and 
ease before there came the necessity for work. But 
this is a thing he will not talk about, and I shall 
never discover whether any soreness still troubles 
him about that old time. 

It seemed a good time to us while it lasted. We 
had hardly known our parents ; and a benevolent 
grandfather brought us all up, and many happy 
years we spent together in the grey old manor- 
house on the other side of the village. Jim was 
formally regarded as the heir to the property, and 
life promised him its best gifts of peace and plenty, 
when the old man died, and we found that he had 
left nearly everything to an alien — a distant cousin 
whom we had hardly heard of and never seen. 
For me and for the others it mattered little ; our 
married lives were full and happy enough, but for 
the boy Jim — ah, that is a different story. He 
began to work, for he was too proud to accept what 
we would gladly have given, and for five long years 
he kept want just a little in front of him, yet 


staring him in the face, until at last he became well 
known in that small circle which is able and keen to 
recognise the best gifts. And then he began to 
crave for the old place, and to feel that his work 
could be as well done in a country home as else- 
where ; so, since by that time the ties which had 
bound me had snapped asunder, we came back 
again, comparatively poor, to the village where we 
had spent our early years of wealth. It was the 
yearning for the soil and its native homely folk that 
brought Jim back. " I should not like to die away 
from them all," he said when he first told me what 
he was about to do ; and I, who knew how deeply 
rooted had been his affection for these humble 
friends of his boyhood, could not wonder that he 
should wish to come home to them. 

That is my brother's story, so far as it goes ; but 
the saddest part is known only to himself, for he is 
not one who has ever prated of his troubles. He 
is happy enough now, I think, though I could desire 
fuller joys for him, and little children to drag him 
from his books and make him seem a boy again. 
But I do not think this will ever be, though some- 
times I wonder — I cannot help wondering ; yet the 
very idea is impossible, and I have never spoken of 
it to mortal being. 

April 2^. It has often struck me as odd that 
no one has ever written about the garden boy. In 
these days, when we have life-histories of every 
genus from men to spiders, nobody has ever given 
us the life-history of the garden boy, and yet no 
type is more interesting if only you can get at him, 
which is the difficulty. He is of so little importance 


in many establishments that I believe there are 
countless employers who do not even know that 
they have a garden boy. One in whom I was 
interested found a situation with some people not 
many miles distant, and six months later, when 
I was making a visit of ceremony, I inquired for 
the boy, and hoped that he was a good boy and 
did his work well. My hostess looked puzzled, and 
said she did not think they had a garden boy ; but 
I persisted with her, and she asked me if by any 
chance I could remember his name. By some 
fortunate chance I could ; his name was Dick Giles, 
and she turned to her daughter and asked if there 
was a boy, a garden boy, on the place named Dick 
Giles. The daughter was inclined to think there 
was not, but the master of the house, when appealed 
to, said he fancied he recollected the word "boy" 
on the wage list. But not even from him was I 
able to discover whether the boy was a good boy, 
or a clever boy, or an industrious boy, or even if he 
was the very boy I was inquiring for, though I 
knew that of this last there could be no doubt, for 
Dick Giles was better acquainted with his employers 
than they with him. 

If we could hear the garden boy's opinion of 
ourselves we should be astonished at its truth and 
directness. No one is a better judge of his master, 
qud man, or of his mistress, qua, woman, than he. 
He is a profound thinker, and this of necessity, for 
he is able but infrequently to express himself in 
words, lest a carrot or other convenient missile 
should be hurled by Sterculus at his head, to 
remind him that garden boys should hold their 



tongues. But establish friendly relations with your 
garden boy when he is off duty in the evening, and 
he will surprise you by his freedom of speech and 
his astute comments on life. He will tell you which 
of our regiments are engaged in the inevitable 

"may I. C. U. HOME, MY DEAR?" 

African or Indian guerilla campaign, and whether 
the generals are capable of carrying the business 
through or no. He will discuss with you the 
subjects of building, agriculture, local government, 
and the recent eclipse with the fluency and acumen 
of a village cobbler, which is saying all that may be 


said. He will bring out and exhibit with pride the 
little badges which Sterculus has never set eyes 
upon — the miniature penny portrait of the latest 
military hero, and the white bone disc bearing the 
inscription, " May I. C. U. home, my dear?" which 
he attaches to his buttonhole on Sundays and 
holidays, to the envy of less fortunate children. 
He will let you see that he regards you as an ally 
defensive against Sterculus, who in the matter of 
an occasional "day off" has sometimes to be en- 
countered and defeated, he maintaining that garden 
boys " didn't ought to want no holidays." In short 
he will prove to you that the garden boy is as well 
worthy of study as the spider or the ant, or even 
the monkey, which he is sometimes supposed to 
resemble, and that you have neglected a means of 
investigating an interesting side of human nature 
until you have made his intimate acquaintance. 

Garden boys are full of ambition. I never knew 
one who was not determined to get to the top of 
some tree or another— not a garden tree as a rule. 
Our present boy, when he is eighteen — nearly four 
years hence — will go into the Army and rapidly 
become a general of artillery. The last was deter- 
mined to be a successful pirate, but has now settled 
down to assist his father in hawking bloaters. 
" You can get about and see the world nicely that 
way," he says. The one immediately preceding 
him was almost more than a boy when he left us, 
and it was only under a species of compulsion, 
when I had pointed out the inadequacy of five 
shillings a week for a young man of eighteen and 
insisted that I should find him a more lucrative 


place, that he consented to depart, provided that 
he might give up gardening for stable work. " If I 
leaves here I shan't stop till I'm head coachman to 
a duke," he said. That was four years ago, and as 
he is now second coachman to an earl, he appears 
to be in a fair way to realise his ambition. 

So keen is our present boy about the Army that 
last year he actually ran away to enlist. One 
morning he failed to appear at his work, and 
presently an agitated mother turned up, saying that 
the boy had left home, and no one could guess 
what had become of him. But I could guess ; and 
the following telegram was soon flying over the 
wires to the recruiting officers in the nearest country 
towns : — 

"Boy run away, supposed to enlist. Under age 
and tn my employment. Name, Thomas Evans. 
Please return." 

The next morning when I went out into the 
garden Thomas Evans was weeding the onion bed. 
I said to him with severity — 

" I should like to know, Thomas, what is your 
opinion about your conduct yesterday." 

" My opinion is that it was very bad conduct, 
ma'am," replied Thomas in a voice tremulous with 
tears he was too proud to shed. 

And then and there we made a compact, which 
we ratify at intervals, and which both Thomas and 
I regard as quite satisfactory. But it cannot be 
carried into effect until over three years from this 
present time, and in the meanwhile the garden is 
to receive the best of our care and loving attention. 

Thomas has a keen eye for natural objects of 


interest. Even the sight of a pheasant flying 
heavily over the garden will make him yearn to 
share the pleasure of watching it with another 
appreciative gazer ; but this tendency is sternly 
repressed by Sterculus. This morning, when Ster- 
culus was engaged in clipping the edges of a flower- 
bed, Thomas following him to pick up the bits of 
grass, I was surprised to hear, as I thought, the 
harsh cry of the green woodpecker from the very 
bed on which they were engaged. When I looked 
up there was Thomas carefully posed behind 
Sterculus's back, a grimy finger upheld to warn 
me that something of interest was in the very act 
of happening, and an eye kept the while on his 
tyrant, who was quite incapable even of realising 
that a green woodpecker's note had been sounded 
to attract my attention. I listened, and from the 
grove on the far hillside came the call, so long 
expected and this year so long delayed — " Cuckoo ! 
cuckoo ! " 

I wonder if the notes of the cuckoo vary in 
different countries. In Beethoven's Scene am 
Bach his song is given as D natural and B flat. 
Our cuckoos certainly have a higher register. I 
have never tested their notes with a pitch pipe very 
early in the season, but in the last week of last 
June I remember to have found all the cuckoos 
singing F natural to D flat. If the song is D 
natural to B flat when he first comes over and 
then changes to F natural and D flat, this would 
account for the assertion in the old rhyme — 

" In leafy June 
He'll change his tune." 


But this saying probably refers to the rougher 
and hoarser voice which he produces for a few 
weeks before flying, and to the " Cuck-cuckoo " 
variation in the sone. 

I suppose that one of the reasons why the 
cuckoo rouses so much interest in us is that he 
seems, as Sterculus says, to have "all the evil 
passions of a Christian." There is no doubt, at 
any rate, that some very human faults beset him, 
for he is selfish, cruel, and unprincipled, and it is in 
reality through these unworthy traits that he im- 
presses the imagination, while professing to do so 
in the character of harbinger of spring. I have 
just been reading Dr. Alexander Japp's book. Our 
Common Cuckoo, and I confess that I think con- 
siderably less of the cuckoo's moral nature than 
I did before I read it, while giving him credit still 
for such powers of self-seeking as adapt him for 
getting on in the world. 

There seems to be no doubt that the female 
cuckoo lays her eggs on the ground, and carries 
them at once in her beak to a convenient nest ; 
they are found very often in nests so small and 
so awkwardly placed that the intruding mother 
could not by any possibility sit on them. There 
are one hundred and twenty different kinds of nests 
in which the cuckoo is recorded to have left her 
eggs, but the most common is that of the hedge- 
sparrow, who will brood with patience eggs so 
unlike her own that it has even been suggested 
that she is colour-blind. 

The eggs of cuckoos show a remarkable range 
of variation. Mr. Seebohm, in his supplement to 



British Birds, has given carefully coloured illustra- 
tions of as many as fifteen varieties, ranging from 
blue to brown and from blotched to spotted speci- 
mens. Controversy seems to rage round this fact, 
one naturalist asserting that the coloration is an 
hereditary faculty ; that each female cuckoo lays 
a particular type of &gg ; and that the cuckoo 
which lays blue eggs takes care to deposit them 
in the nest of some blue-egg-laying species, and 
so on. Another authority maintains that the blue 
eggs of the cuckoo are more frequently found in 
nests of birds with brownish eggs than in those 
with eggs of blue, so that the specialised colour- 
ing is misleading and purposeless. Another, again, 
seems to think that the variation is purely accidental, 
and that, if it were not, the cuckoo mother would 
be taking upon herself a great deal of unnecessary 
trouble, since the foster parents of many species 
are so easily deceived, and make no objection 
whatever to receiving and hatching the alien. This 
naturalist is also of opinion that other causes must 
be looked for to account for the variation, such as 
the age of the bird, or defective organisation. 

Why does the cuckoo rely on foster-parents 
for the upbringing of her young.'' There are 
some charitably minded ornithologists who would 
fain persuade us that her stomach is so placed as 
to get in the way when she would sit, and that 
brooding is in consequence impossible. Yet there 
are well-authenticated cases of cuckoos hatching 
out their own young, and the night-jar, which 
suffers from a similar anatomical disability, never 
tries to shirk her maternal duties. Others imagine 


that she has the instinct of the preservation of 
the species so strongly developed that her action 
practically amounts to self-abnegation — that the 
particular food upon which she most depends be- 
comes so scarce that she would not find it possible 
to provide for herself and her family too, so that 
she resigns all unwillingly the sweet privileges of 
maternity to the foster-parents. Her young are 
so voracious that it is a hard matter for a pair of 
sparrows or titlarks to satisfy a single infant bird. 


But here again too much, I think, is conceded 
to the supposed moral purpose and rectitude of 
the female cuckoo. She is an insectivorous bird, 
and she prefers for her young the nest of other 
insectivorous birds. But when a home is hard to 
find, or when she is too lazy to devote much time 
to the search, she will deposit them in the nests of 
seed- or fruit-eating birds ; and this diet supplied by 
them to their foster-child causes it to flourish equally 
well as when fed upon the natural caterpillar or insect 


diet. If the cuckoo mother would make up her 
mind to eat commonplace food, and would not 
be such an epicure as to insist on nothing but 
choice live morsels, she could very well provide 
both for herself and her young, so that what 
naturalists try to make us believe to be self- 
sacrifice in her is obviously sheer laziness and un- 
exampled greed. 

One might be inclined to look for some saving 
grace in the young cuckoo of tender age ; but 
Dr. Japp tells us that the fact is indisputable that 
he is as unscrupulous as his mother, for he murders 
his foster-brethren as soon as he has sense to 
perceive that they deprive him of food which would 
in their absence be all his. By the time he is three 
days old he has tilted the other young nestlings 
over the edge of the nest, together with any eggs 
which may remain there, using his back as a kind 
of shovel and his wings as hands. Verily it may 
be said of him that by a process of development 
he has actually become shapen in wickedness, for 
his back has taken a hollow form which enables 
him to accomplish this heartless operation with 
perfect ease. 

But to return to the old cuckoos. If they are 
idle and greedy at laying time, they are simply 
barbarous when July comes and they make ready 
to migrate. The elder birds quit this country 
without the slightest regard for their offspring, 
who are not yet ready to fly. It seems as if this 
further characteristic was intended to put a final 
touch to the illustration of their general immorality, 
for I believe they are the only birds which leave 



in the autumn without seeing their children safely 
started on the long journey to Africa. There are 


persons who go so far as to assert that the older 
cuckoos are obliged to lay their eggs in alien nests 
and to leave to strangers the sustenance of their 


young, because the time of their migration is so 
early that they could not perform these duties 
effectively, and therefore, purely from conscientious 
motives, they think it best not to attempt to per- 
form them at all. These persons even compare 
the cuckoo favourably with the swift, whose migra- 
tory instinct in autumn is so strong that it sometimes 
leaves late broods to starve because it has a craving 
to be on the wing. " The mother cuckoo, " they seem 
to say, "is a pattern of birds; rather than run 
any risk for her offspring she resigns the parental 
joys to which she is entitled. Could self-renuncia- 
tion go farther ? " 

How is it that those birds in whose nests the 
cuckoo leaves her young do not detect the fraud 
and eject the egg or make another nest? There 
are many ornithologists who think that birds are so 
deficient in the senses of touch and smell that they 
cannot even perceive when they have been imposed 
upon. It has also been said, contrariwise, that the 
female cuckoo deposits in the nest that she has 
selected for her offspring a few of her own feathers 
before she leaves her egg, so that the foster-mother 
may become accustomed to the cuckoo smell, and 
will not detect any peculiarity in the egg when 
it is placed there. But there have been cred- 
ible cases of such offence being taken at the 
intrusion that the victimised bird has actually built 
a new floor over the cuckoo's egg and left it to 
itself in the basement, while she has triumphantly 
brooded a new family on the first storey. This 
would surely show that she has possession of one 
of the senses which would enable her to detect the 


fraud. Dr. Japp, for his part, declares that the 
senses of touch and smell in birds are very keen ; 
the coot, he tells us, will not sit upon ducks' eggs. 
And he narrates a story of /an ornithologist who 
made experiments with a woodpecker's nest. He 
cut a circular piece out of the tree just below the 
nest and, extracting the woodpecker's egg, he 
substituted for it a thrush's ess. Then he filled 
up the hole with the bung, colouring it over exactly 
like the bark of the tree. The woodpecker stuck 
to her nest, and when she had laid four more eggs 
he took out the bung, and found that the thrush's 
egg had been rolled out of the nest into a recess, 
although the place was quite dark, and detection 
through the sense of sight must have been im- 

If Nature has armed the coot and the wood- 
pecker with a sense so keen as to prevent their 
incubating alien eggs, why has she not provided 
other smaller birds with this instinct ? For them 
even more than for the larger birds it would seem 
an important gift, their nests being more liable to 
intrusion ; so that the coot and the woodpecker 
and a few others are given an instinct that is 
practically never called into exercise, while on 
birds which need this instinct more Nature has 
apparently failed to bestow it. 

But Dr. Japp does not believe that Nature has 
treated these little birds badly. He thinks that 
their senses are no less keen than those of the 
others, and that for a few instances recorded of 
a bird building over a parasitical egg there are pro- 
bably countless others which escape notice. If, as 


some naturalists hold, the cuckoo lays five eggs or 
thereabouts, the balance of bird life in hitherto 
understood conditions would be so upset that the 
cuckoos would far outnumber the smaller birds and 
gradually, through ousting them, would entail their 
eventual disappearance. Yet the number of young 
cuckoos seen in a single season is not in excess of 
the old ones, and the obvious conclusion is that the 
smaller birds are not so stupid as they have been 
thought ; that they know and dislike the intrusion 
of the cuckoo's egg ; and that in innumerable in- 
stances resort has been had to the new storey in 
the house, and the parasitical egg has been care- 
fully buried when it has not been turned out of the 
nest or destroyed. 

But instinct seems to fail the small birds just 
where it might most reasonably be looked for. 
When the young cuckoo is hatched the foster- 
mother will starve herself to death rather than fail 
to supply its ravenous demands. And when she is 
dead the vociferant cries of the infant will attract 
neighbouring birds, so that they come and continue 
the supply, strangers though they are to the nest- 
ling. A cuckoo in confinement has been known to 
be fed by a wren, who brought food to the cage ; 
and another, caged with some American blue 
robins, had only to open its mouth and one of 
the robins would drop all its tit-bits into the larger 
bird's capacious maw. So that it seems as though 
the instinct of certain species is proved to be of 
absolute use to another species which thrives to its 
detriment — a condition which Darwin asserted to 
be unknown. It is strange that one bird should be 


protected by another at its own expense, and that, 
as Goethe observed, from six to a dozen sinCTinof- 
birds may be sacrificed for a single cuckoo. 

The fact is that the young monster, the intruded 
cuckoo, seems to exercise a fascination over the 
smaller birds, who lose all sense of protective duty 
to their young, and even to themselves, while they 
are apparently possessed of admiration and pride in 
the gluttonous interloper — so much larger and more 
insistent than any child they have hitherto reared. 

It is an interesting question whether the young 
cuckoo learns its tribal song from instinct or 
whether its first chirp is that of its foster-parents. 
Evidence is sparse on the point, but it seems to 
lean to the side of the first contention, although an 
acute observer, Lord Lilford, brought evidence to 
bear which tends to support the contrary theory. 
He owned a young cuckoo from the time that it 
was taken from the nest until it was two years old, 
and its only song was a chirp, although it was once 
heard to make an attempt, which was a sad failure, 
at the normal cuckoo call. But, on the other hand, 
a certain Mr. Cochrane, a bird dealer of Edinburgh, 
was the possessor of a cuckoo which persistently 
sang its song through two summers. It had been 
taken from a meadow-pipit's nest in Wigtonshire, 
and was brought up by hand. Very soon it was 
tamed and became a family pet, being allowed con- 
siderable liberty in Mr. Cochrane's house. It ate 
food from the hand with perfect confidence, and 
must have been a voracious feeder, for it is recorded 
that at one sitting- it had been known to consume 
seventy-three meal-worms. It would also enjoy 


sultana raisins, meat, lettuce and other vegetables, 
young frogs, and hard-boiled eggs. 

Its first moulting was in February, 1897, and one 
evening in the following April at about nine o'clock, 
when sitting on the fender and enjoying the heat of 
the fire, it began its cuckoo song. There had been 
no opportunity of learning from other cuckoos, for 
this one had been reared among parrots, canaries, 


and bullfinches. In July it ceased singing, and the 
migratory instinct was evidently strong, for it 
became exceedingly restless. After a time, how- 
ever, it quieted down, moulted once more in 
February, and again in April began to sing, though 
this time less clearly than in the previous year. It 
was evidently in failing health, but up to the last its 
eye continued bright and its appetite unimpaired. 
It died in the autumn of 1898. 


Another bird kept in confinement for over a year 
frequently attempted to make its onomatopceic call, 
but never got fairly beyond an indistinct first 
syllable. So that the little evidence obtainable 
on the subject is insufficient to settle the question 
whether the cuckoo's song is instinctive or imitative. 
More observation is needed to decide the point, and 
any evidence concerning it should be recorded, so 
that in time the matter may be set at rest. A great 
deal has been discovered of late years about the 
habits of the cuckoo, but much remains to discover, 
and I fancy that the better we know him — and per- 
haps more especially her — the less respect we shall 
have for the family in general. John Milton, who 
knew most things, had but a small opinion of the 
cuckoo, and doubtless could have instructed us on 
the subject ; but he has refrained from any specific 
accusation, and in one of the most beautiful of 
his sonnets merely alludes to him as the "rude 
Bird of Hate," and prays that he may not hear his 
song before he has listened to that of the nightin- 
gale, which will bring him the love for which he 

" O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray 
Warbl'st at eeve, when all the Woods are still, 
Thou with fresh hope the Lovers heart dost fill. 
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May, 
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day, 
First heard before the shallow Cuccoo's bill 
Portend success in love ; O if Jove's will 
Have linkt that amorous power to thy soft lay. 
Now timely sing, ere the rude Bird of Hate 
Foretell my hopeles doom in som Grove ny : 
As thou from yeer to yeer hast sung too late 
For my relief; yet hadst no reason why. 
Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate. 
Both them I serve, and of their train am L" 


May \ 1^ 7 E have had a day of unprecedented 
2. V V and unforeseen excitements. 
Yesterday was May Day — not only the first 
day of May according to the calendar, but a 
real old-fashioned day of May revellings, such as 
our village must have known three hundred years 
ago. Jim and the Vicar are responsible for it, and, 
as a consequence, they both wear a flat and care- 
laden aspect this morning, which seems ominous of 
expected catastrophe. For my part the catastrophes 
which have already occurred seem sufficiently un- 
pleasant to discourage further revelling. 

It must be about two months since that Jim and 
I were paying a first visit to Mrs. Vicarius when 
our new Vicar broached his bright idea to us. He 
wanted to reinstitute old parish festivals, to have 
Twelfth Night commemorations. May Day junket- 
ings, beating the bounds, and half a dozen other 
parochial gaieties. He came in hot with his 
scheme and appealed to Jim, with whom he 
had already established a kind of friendship. It 
appears that Mr. Curtice chooses to call himself 
a mediaevalist, and he besought Jim as a brother 
antiquary to support him. Jim is, of course, a 


MAY 6i 

person who cannot be labelled, but it is impossible 
to deny that his life is spent in a period about two 
thousand years agone, and the idea of reverting 
to scenes of a mere three centuries past seemed 
the easiest thing in the world to him. Mrs. Vicarius 
protested, and I supported her in a half-hearted 
way ; but the Vicar is a masterful man, and he 
gained his point in the end. 

"It will be a great deal of trouble," she said. 

" There are plenty who will share it," cried he. 

" And very expensive." 

"We shall get subscriptions. I don't anticipate 
any difficulty at all." 

" You wouldn't, dear," said Mrs. Vicarius softly. 
" But I don't see the object of it." 

" The object is to provide amusement for the 
villagers. Why do they leave the country and 
go to live in towns ? Because rural life is so dull 
and circumscribed. It was only yesterday that 
I was reading an article on the subject by one of 
our Berkshire historians. He said that the old 
revels infused poetic feeling into the villagers, and 
softened their manners, and prevented their grow- 
ing hard and discontented. He said that the 
ancient festivals promoted good relations between 
rich and poor, between farmer and labourer. If 
we could help in a humble way to bring back 
the good old days of contentment in our rural 
population I should count no trouble too great." 

He looked appealingly at Mrs. Curtice, who gave 
in at once. She would rather die than thwart her 
husband in a matter which she knows he has taken 
to heart. 

62 MAY 

So yesterday we had our revels, and very in- 
teresting they were in ways totally unexpected. 

The Vicar and Jim were so determined to do 
the thing thoroughly that the latter actually pro- 
duced an old Survey of the parish, temp. 
Edward VI., and attempted to trace out the 
revelling-place of former times. He decided that 
a field which bore the name of The Butts was 
probably the scene of ancient hilarity, and that 
it should also witness our modern revellings. It 
was near the village green for one thing, which 
made it a convenient resort ; and, for another, it 
was surrounded by a high fence which allowed 
the impresario of the dramatic company to conduct 
rehearsals in privacy within its sheltered precincts. 
There was much trouble, which the promoters of 
the scheme tried to keep to themselves, in carrying 
through these rehearsals of their open-air play, 
Robin Hood. Of course I was told nothing about 
it by either Jim or the Vicar, but one of the 
actresses informed me in private of the agitation 
caused in the highest circles by the vagaries of 
Maid Marian, who persisted throughout in making 
love to Friar Tuck, instead of responding to the 
advances of her chartered lover. 

Now Friar Tuck was in his rightful person the 
young brother of the Vicar, at home under a 
species of compulsion exercised by the authorities 
at Oxford, and it was easy to guess that he would 
not be slow to encourage Maid Marian in her 

However, the day came at last, and brighdy 
enough it broke. Jim had composed a May song, 



made of double chants. He is peculiar in his 
musical tastes, and after Beethoven's sonatas, which 
satisfy him better than anything else in music, he 
prefers a good double chant. I am certain that I 
heard him one evening at his study piano trying to 


make a part-song out of one of the sonatas, but in 
all probability he failed to adapt it comfortably to 
the words, which he had also composed, so he fell 
back upon a few of his favourite double chants, and 
fashioned quite a creditable madrigal out of them. 
The air had been played by village concertinas 



under his tuition, sung at convivial meetings, and 
tootled by the juvenile drum-and-fife band until we 
were all familiar with it. 

On the morning of May Day nothing but Jim's 
May song was heard in the village. So far the 

"what do he say, BETTY? 

festival was a complete success. The revels proper 
were to begin immediately after the village dinner- 
hour. Punctually at two o'clock we assembled on 
the green, the parish clerk as bellman, dressed in 
our late Vicar's clerical garb, and the parish warden, 
Farmer Stubbs, as prompter, occupying prominent 
places beside Jim and Mr. Curtice. 


MAY 6s 

" Oyez ! Oyez ! Oyez ! " cried the Vicar, with all 
the power of his particularly sound lungs. 

" What do he say, Betty ? What do he say ? " 
asked deaf old Tummus Chalk of his deaf old wife. 

" He be gone silly, sims to I," responded Betty 

"Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! We strictly charge and 
command that all persons here assembled do keep 
the peace upon pain of five pounds to be forfeited 
to the Lady of the Manor, and their bodies to be 
imprisoned at her pleasure. Also that no manner 
of person within these precincts do bear any bill, 
battle-axe, or other weapon. Also that no person 
do unseemly for any grudge or malice make pertur- 
bation or trouble upon pain of five pounds and their 

bodies What is the matter ? Where are they 

going ? " 

For the crowd was melting away towards The 
Butts, with the exception of our little party and old 
Betty and Tummus. 

"'An' a very good sarmon too," said old Tummus 
in his cracked voice, with an attempt at consolation, 
" so fur as it went, 'wevver. An' I alius stands up 
fer thy sarmons, passon, whatever folks med say." 

Betty shook him by the coat-sleeve. 

" 'Tent a sarmon," she bawled ; " 'tis summat 
dotty-like, wi' no sense in't. Don't say nowt or 
they'll visit it on 'ee. Come on home." 

And they hobbled away across the green. 

The rest of us followed the other revellers to 
The Butts, our enthusiasm dashed for the moment. 

But the main interest of the day was to centre 
on the doings within the enclosed precincts of The 



Butts, and when we had passed the turnstile a won- 
derful sight was ours. One end of the field had 
been made into a bower, and a part of it screened 
off by fences of green boughs into retiring rooms 
for the actors. In the bower the play was to be 
acted, while we of the outside public sat on the turf 


and looked and listened. But surely something was 
amiss. The Vicar hurried to and fro, darting from 
one screened enclosure to another, and ribald sounds 
went up behind the scenes. 

I never knew until afterwards what was wrong, 
and why the play came to an end or ever it had 
begun. It appears that although every maid in the 
village had been willing and eager to act a part, it 

MAY 67 

had been inordinately difficult to persuade any of 
the young men to join in the mumming. Jack 
Curtice, however, being himself a young man and 
knowing the ways of young men, had persuaded 
two rustic youths to accept the parts of Robin Hood 
and Little John by himself acting that of Friar 
Tuck, and — chiefest and most potent argument — by 
promising that in the Flax Piece adjoining The 
Butts there should lie concealed in a hollow oak a 
four-and-a-half-gallon cask of ale for the actors' 
refreshment. Unluckily Robin Hood and Little 
John had managed to broach this cask early in the 
day and without permission, and the consequences 
were obvious. 

Jack Curtice walked Little John up and down 
the green-room while one of the bandsmen threw 
water at intervals into the young swain's face. 
Another bandsman had given up Robin Hood as 
hopeless, and rolled him into a corner. 

"We med as well leave en in the earner till he 
comes to," he said ; "he wun't do no Robin Hoodin' 

And eventually Little John went to share his 
corner, and for want of the two principal actors the 
play was declared off. 

Time would fail me to tell of the day's catas- 
trophes — of the ox, brought to draw the maypole to 
its place, which tried to gore Tommy Sandford, 
and did indeed ruin his best jacket, which Jim had 
to pay for ; of the tale of ducks and hens and a pig 
or two which fell to the bows and arrows of marks- 
men who were not satisfied with their legitimate 
target ; and of half a dozen other items not in the 



programme as arranged by the promoters of the 
festival. The long day drew to its close at last, 
and I am certain that no one was more relieved 
than the Vicar when at last the strident concertina 
and the uncertain fiddle ceased their sound, and 
lights went out round the green, and the village 
slept. To-day we may discourse him of any subject 
in the wide world except revels — 

" Crede experto — trust one who has tried." 
He is an ill subject when roused. 


May 14. There is nothing in gardening that so 
much demands the eye and hand of the expert as 
the weeding of borders. I have a fair number of 
friends to whom I could quite happily trust my 
children, if I had any, and perhaps two or three to 
whom I could commit my dogs ; but I cannot at this 
moment call to mind more than one whom I could 
without anxiety turn into my borders to weed them. 
Carelessness is the unpardonable sin surely, because 
it is the one that is absolutely curable through an 
effort of will. But it is not only through careless- 
ness that ruth is done in the flower garden ; there 
are many little plants known only to the planter 

MAY 69 

which are not sufficiently self-assertive to give the 
appearance of being entitled to their position, and 
because they are timid and small they are plucked 
up and cast away as worthless. 

Early in May the thinning of annuals should be 
seen to, if it has not been done before, for nothing 
in flowers has so short a stay as the bed of annuals 
which suffers from overcrowding. Many things 
grown under glass can now be hardened, but this 


is a process which should be undertaken with some 
circumspection. To thrust boxes of petunias out 
suddenly into the external elements is a certain 
check to their career, and the hardening should be 
accomplished by slow degrees, first in a cold frame, 
closed at night, and afterwards through various 
stages of semi-protection culminating towards the 
end of the month in complete exposure. The time 
for planting them out cannot be determined except 
by experience. There may come a series of warm, 


moist days at the end of May when the conditions 
are admirable for the purpose, or it may be nearly 
the middle of June before such a time appears. 
But the planting should be regulated by the 
weather, for nothing is more heartbreaking than 
to see withering under a hot sun the tender things 
which should have been introduced to their new 
quarters in more favouring circumstances. There 
are very few years in which the weather is not suit- 
able at some time between May 24th and June 
15th, and the wise gardener gets everything in 
readiness for the welcome rainy days, be they 
early or be they late, so that there shall be no 
hindrance when once Jupiter Pluvius has his turn 
at the weather-glass. 

The roses will be getting liquid manure now for 
a few weeks, and this will not only help the buds at 
present forming, but will give the bushes strength 
to carry an autumn bloom. The worm in the bud 
is beginning to show itself, and for some time to 
come every plant will be hand-picked twice a week 
to get rid of the pest. I have not yet found any 
wash which will destroy them, but as regards the 
aphis, which also is appearing, the case is different. 
There are plenty of insecticides which will kill it, 
but I make a point of using Abol, because I feel 
myself under a debt of gratitude to the man who 
invented the Abol syringe. Every gardener has 
been betrayed many a time into expressions not 
becoming by the behaviour of the common syringe. 
It sprays everything except the object aimed at; 
it indulges in a back drip destructive of garments ; 
it exhausts itself of water in about three seconds, 

MAY 71 

and the rose bushes have had practically none of it. 
But the Abol syringe knows how to behave itself ; 
it never comes back and looks you in the face and 
drenches you ; it goes direct to the object aimed at ; 
and above all it requires filling about one quarter as 
often as any other syringe which I have used. For 
by some clever contrivance the spray diffuses itself 
so gradually and so finely that nothing can escape 
it, and destruction comes upon the intruding insect 
whose undesired presence has threatened a dearth 
of roses. 

Christmas roses in pots are being divided and 
replanted, as they had grown too much choked for 
good blooming, and arum lilies are being set out in 
manure trenches for the summer. There are many 
persons who succeed in getting good results from 
these callas by keeping them In pots, and only 
aiding them in the autumn with manure water. 
But the planting- out system is less troublesome, 
and in my experience more successful, though the 
flowers come a little later. They are taken up in 
September, and kept close for a few days In a frame 
until they have recovered the change, and then they 
go on merrily to their flowering season, making a 
whole winter beautiful. 

How glorious are the yellow tree lupins in the 
wild garden ! They are not unsuited to large 
borders, but I like them best in the grass, because 
they look as if they belong there of right. Yet 
their lease of life Is sadly short, for I have not 
known one to live longer than five or six years. 
I should like to know whether in California, whence 
they have come to us, their life is so brief, or 

72 MAY 

whether the conditions they meet with under cul- 
ture, the richness of the ground they inhabit, and 
the general care they receive, lead to the too pro- 
fuse bearing of blossom and of seed pod, which 
seems to weaken and in time to destroy them. It 
is certainly not a hard winter which kills them, for 
they may survive three or four such winters to 
waste away in a mild one. But however disappoint- 
ing they may be in this respect they are of the 
things which no keen gardener can dispense with, 
and as they are fairly easy raised from seed, and as 
a plant in its second year may range in height from 
two to four or even more feet, and be covered with 
masses of its glorious bean-scented flowers, there is 
no difficulty in keeping up the supply by means of an 
annual sowing. They like a light soil and a sunny 
position and a stake to keep them steady when 
rough winds blow. 

Some of the plants which look most promising in 
the wild garden are the scarlet avens, or geum, 
the Nankeen poppy, the common yellow potentilla, 
and the old-fashioned columbine. Various dian- 
thuses, such as that called deltoides, and the 
pheasant-eye pink are doing admirably and have 
much promise of blossom. Irises raised from seed 
are coming up well, but they do not thrive in the 
grass as I should like to see them, judging by their 
sparse bloom. The oriental poppies are showing 
great swelling buds. It strikes me ever anew that 
the ideal gardening is wild gardening, when it can 
be managed after Nature's patterns, and the little 
bit of it that I can delight in is a happier thing 
than any patches of florists' flowers that make 



my borders gay. Perhaps this is because in wild 
gardening the gardener has necessarily to be simple. 
He who would plant carefully hybridised things in 
the grass and expect to see them thrive would be 
a foolish person ; so type flowers are chosen which 
cannot revert to any lower stage of existence be- 
cause they are still as Nature made them, and the 
result is as though she herself had planted them, 
exotics though they may be. 

One of our most noxious weeds in the eyes of 
Sterculus is very useful for grouping with cut 


flowers. This is the common white weed, or sheep's 
parsley. Its foliage mingles well with garden 
blossoms, and its great heads of tiny flowers are 
very effective later in vases in combination with 
such large blooms as those of the oriental poppy, 
the pseony, and pyrethrum. Another flower ex- 
cellent for the purpose is the bulbous saxifrage, 
which is plentiful hereabouts, and is nearly as 
pretty as its diminutive relative the London pride. 
Other plants which grow wild in the orchard are 
the water avens, the adder's-tongue fern, the twae- 

74 MAY 

blade, various common orchids, cuckoo flowers, and 
ox-eyed daisies. Nature set them all in this litde 

The most brilliant flowers in the garden are still 
bulbs — the flaunting parrot tulips ; and mingled 
with them are multitudes of poet's narcissus, which 
are quite as beautiful, though not so gay. Some 
of these last are also growing thinly in the grass 
with cowslips between, and here and there a white 
wood hyacinth ; the harmony of tender tints is very 
pleasant among the cool green. But the place that 
best suits the cowslips is the moist ground of the 
lowest bed in the rose garden, where, plentifully 
nourished and kept cool and slightly shaded by 
standard trees, they grow very large and brighter 
in tint than elsewhere, the green calyx being 
especially vivid. 

May 20. At the end of the month, when the 
wallflowers are cleared away from the sheltered 
beds beneath the windows of the house, portulaca 
is sown all along the edge in a wide border, and 
such things as will thrive in so dry a place are 
planted behind it. It is an undesirable arrange- 
ment, ugly and displeasing, because it is always 
artificial in appearance. The flowers complain in 
unmistakable flower language that they have been 
bedded out for the summer in a place where no 
others will thrive, instead of being provided with 
quarters where they may live in peace and die 
when old age comes to them. There is no getdng 
away from the fact that they have not any abiding 
place, so there is little pleasure to be gained from 
them, but only the conventional covering of a border 
which would otherwise be bare. 

MAY 75 

The lily disease has attacked most of the 
Madonna lilies again this year. I see that certain 
authorities who have studied the disease, which 
they call Botrytis cinerea, say that it is caused 
by a fungus closely related to that of the potato 
disease. The large spores produce other spores 
with hair-like tails, which can sail about in water. 
No remedy is known for the plague, and the only 
thing to be done when a plant is affected is to 
cut the stem down and burn it, to prevent con- 
tamination to others. I believe that if the bulbs 
are taken up when they are ripe and kept in a 
bag with flour of sulphur for a little time before 
replanting, they will be likely to resist the disease 
the following year. It has been stated that this 
disease attacks only those lilies which have been 
imported ; certainly it is the case that a few of mine 
which came some years since from a cottage garden 
have never suffered from it, while others bought 
from various salesmen have been struck down year 
after year, and never seem safe. 

One of the last duties of the month is the 
arranging of hanging baskets for the sheltered 
entrance to the house which is always dignified 
by the name of verandah. Departure from con- 
ventional arrangements for these is not desirable ; 
I have tried many and have failed in every one. 
And, after all, there is nothing more suitable for 
these baskets than the common pelargonium with 
hanging sprays of blue lobelia, or tendrils of ivy 
pelargoniums. These things are in their right 
position for the summer season when they are used 
to fill tubs and baskets, where they never look out 



of place, because they are well suited to their 
abode. They last even throughout the autumn, and 
are always gay, provided that they are regularly 
watered, for the soil is necessarily limited, and daily 
attention is needed. 

May 28. This is the first day of summer. One 
might almost say that it is the first day of spring, 
for that warm week in April is so long past that 
it hardly counts in one's memory of pleasant days. 
The sparrows, those most unprincipled of jerry- 


builders, are making new nests, and in one or 
two instances are taking forcible possession of the 
swallows' tenements. Possibly they have suffered 
from the rains in their early abodes. For the cold, 
wet spring I am grateful, since in this garden we 
are apt to suffer from drought. We are over- 
drained by Nature, which has set us on a southern 
slope, and by necessity, which has demanded a 
certain amount of terracing to allow of a croquet 


It is a good year for grass ; the rains have 
assured that. From the seat under the upper elm 
one may see how luxuriantly it grows just below. 
The poet's narcissus can only just look over the 
feathery tops, and a scarlet oriental poppy blossom 
has but a trifle more advantage. It is one of last 
year's seedlings, and is the first in bloom in the 
garden this year. I am anxious to see if they 


will hold their own permanently among the grass. 
I am feeling a little sorry that I planted such a 
large mass of the old yellow doronicum in the wild 
garden, for now that the buttercups are in flower 
it is not very telling ; but it was too encroaching 
to be left in the borders, and a place elsewhere had 
to be found for it. D. Harpur Crewe is better for 
cutting, and in habit is more satisfactory, but it also 
is in the wild garden on account of its early habit. 

;8 MAY 

The summer borders are quite a fortnight later 
than they should be. There is very little show at 
present — nothing, in fact, beyond the parrot tulips 
and one or two herbaceous things such as the rosy 
pyrethrums, geum miniatum, which seems to be 
earlier than G. chiloense, and the pretty little 


carpet plant which we call Bouncing Bet, though 
properly speaking it is saponaria ocytnoides. Many 
things are ready to burst into flower, but are coy 
through persistent night frosts. 

The first sweet peas are in bloom to-day — a fort- 
night before their time by a happy accident. In the 
early winter we found that a goodly number of seeds 

MAY 79 

which had been taken in for drying had sown them- 
selves and made an inch or two of growth under 
the greenhouse stage. So we potted them, and 
kept them in a cold frame, until a period of warm 
weather in early April made it possible to turn them 
into the open ground, and they are now rewarding 
us for our care by giving their sweet blossoms before 
we have any right to expect them. 

Somebody said the other day that life is made up 
half of boredom and half of unpleasant surprises. 
Nevertheless, I am having several pleasant sur- 
prises in my borders this spring. Part of my 
business is to keep these borders weeded, but as 
they require attention in this respect several times 
in the early spring, I am obliged, though it is 
against my principles, occasionally to depute this 
duty to Thomas, with strict injunctions to pluck up 
nothing that he could have a doubt about. Evi- 
dently the garden boy is not troubled with doubts, for 
in ensuing summers I have grieved over my losses, 
though attributing them to the rigours of the pre- 
ceding winter. This spring, however, I have done 
all my weeding myself, and am surprised to come 
upon friends that I had given up for lost. Here is 
a romneya coulteri planted three years ago. It did 
not bloom in its first summer, and its head was 
doubtless plucked off as a weed for two good 
springs, for my eyes have not beheld it for that 
period. There are also two or three statices in 
places where statices are not used to be ; their early 
growth might certainly be mistaken for that of the 
dock, so the garden boy is held partly excused as 
reg-ards them. The same mig-ht be said for the 


8o MAY 

beautiful dwarf white evening primrose {Oenothera 
taraxacifolid), whose dandelion-hke foliage ensures 
its being pulled away in mistaken kindness even by 
passing friends, so that out of my original large 
stock raised from seed I now possess only a few 
plants. The thistle-like morina, for this same 
reason, has never lived through a summer in my 
garden, though I have planted several specimens 
at different times. I shall have to put a neat little 
paling, made of wooden labels, round these plants, 
with the inscription, " Trespassers will be prose- 
cuted " ; but even then I should despair of Thomas's 
amendment. A garden boy who, when you point 
to a handful of cherished plants withering on the 
grass, can do naught but laugh at the good joke is 
obviously beyond reformation. 

I wonder if people in general notice how inferior 
is the song of some nightingales to that of others. 
The principal bird who inhabits our grove this 
spring is a very poor singer. When he attempts 
the delightful jug-jug he makes a sorry failure of 
it, and even his common notes are as naught in 
comparison with those of last year's birds. The 
cold weather may possibly have something to do 
with it, but I do not think so, for we have now had 
four hot days and nights, and still his note is a 
feeble travesty of the song of other days. In spite 
of a month of cool, wet weather these four days 
make the garden cry out again for rain. I wonder 
if anything is due to the original making of the 
borders some years since ; and yet how hard we 
worked to get them right! We dug out their 
whole length to a depth of over two feet; the 

MAY 8 1 

substratum of gravel which we came upon at one 
point was removed, and good soil substituted for it. 
The clay substratum (nowhere within eighteen 
inches of the surface) in another place we tempered 
with lighter stuff No pains were spared at the 
beginning so far as our knowledge served. I cannot 
help believing that we did the best that could be 


done, and that the contour of the ground is more to 
be blamed than we. One pays penalties after all 
for "laying warm," as Sterculus puts it, and having 
a natural drainage. 

A quantity of Dobbie's white spiral candytuft, 
sown almost at random a year ago in odd corners 
of the borders, failed to germinate in last summer's 
drought, and has now come up and is bursting into 
beautiful bloom. It is wonderful how much hand- 


82 xMAY 

somer it is than spring-sown stuff. Clarkia and 
godetia under similar conditions are also doing well. 
Viola cornuta in two or three shades — a flower 
which, as a carpet plant properly placed under 
things of upright growth, I regard as one of the 
prettiest in the garden — is looking charming, as it 
always does at this time. Early in July, when it 
gets a little shabby, we shall clip it over, and it will 
bloom again in the autumn. Nearly all the tufts 
were killed by the heat last summer, but it is a 
thing impossible to get rid of, and it is rapidly 
forming new masses from self-sown seed. These 
young plants should bloom in September or even 

I have a friend called Petunia who lives not 
very far away, and comes often to see me. She 
is young and pretty and altogether charming, 

but Well, I have noticed that a "but" 

generally appears in a woman's description of her 
best friends, and there is no need to particularise. 
The " but " in Petunia's case is not entirely irrelevant 
to her method of mismanaging her love affairs, 
which she seems to have accomplished of late with 
complete success. Yet while willing and even 
anxious to seek sympathy, she deprecates the 
smallest approach to advice from her confidants, 
of whom she has more than one or two. More- 
over, as she never succeeds in expressing her 
position very clearly, always keeping in reserve 
some fact which might damage her in the opinion 
of her listener, it is sometimes a little difficult to 
follow her story and to share her point of view. It 
seems as if she has not strength to carry alone the 


MAY 8 s 

burden which she is yet too coy or too unwilling to 
share with another. 

Petunia has bicycled over again to-day, the second 
time within the week, and it is easy to see that 
she is brimming with the desire to tell me some- 
thing. The only way to meet her is with a com- 
plete absence of inquisitiveness, which is the most 
trying and embarrassing to her of all the various 
fronts which one can present. How happy she is 
if her friend and confidant of the moment will say, 
" Petunia, darling, tell me what is on your mind " ; 
or, " Dear Petunia, you are looking a little unhappy 
to-day ! " But no one who really knew Petunia 
would be foolish enough to adopt such elementary 
tactics as these, which lead to much circumlocution 
on her part, and not a little self-pity. So we talk 
indifferently about apple blossom, or about the 
effect of late spring frost on the strawberries, and 
we discuss the respective demerits of the brown and 
the black slug. And all the time I know that I 
shall presently yield to her mood out of sheer good 
nature, and shall hear myself saying, " Petunia, 
darling, tell me what is troubling you." 

She ate a very good luncheon, looking the picture 
of misery throughout the meal. Afterwards she 
indulged in a larger quantity than usual of pepper- 
mint creams, only holding her hand when I re- 
marked that I considered peppermint exhilarating. 
Then she asked what was the most remarkable 
instance of patient silent agony that had ever come 
under my notice. I assured her that nothing of the 
kind had ever struck me more forcibly than the sight 
of a lean countryman whom I had seen one even- 



ing at the close of the fortnightly sheep fair in the 
neighbouring village of Ilsley. The day was done, 


the customers were departing, and his sheep were 
unsold. She said dreamily that she was not think- 
ing about sheep, and then she quoted Longfellow — 


MAY 87 

Petunia's poetical taste is not of the highest order — 
and remembered to sigh at the right moment. She 
said she thought the " Psalm of Life " the truest 
picture ever painted of a woman's heart. She said 
she was convinced that the sublimest thing- in the 
world was suffering and being strong. I cordially 
agreed with her, and instanced my persistent 
romneya coulteri. She remarked sadly that a 
woman's heart was of more value than any romneya 
coulteri. I replied that something might depend 
upon the state of the heart. She said she supposed 
it was time to go, and then she sat down again, and 
I knew that neither jest nor insult would dislodge 
her until she had unburdened herself; so I made 
haste to say once more the words 1 have so often 
repeated in these last months, " Petunia, dearest, 
tell me what is troubling you." 

Of course, I knew very well what was troubling 
her. I could not be certain of its name, for this is 
subject to chances and changes, but I can always 
sketch in as a preliminary the bare facts and out- 
line of the story. Although there may be bore- 
dom for me, there will be no surprises in Petunia's 

It appears that her Mr. Mumby of the moment, 
whom she has adored for over three weeks, went 
away yesterday without telling his love. I do not 
quite grasp whether this is the original Mr. Mumby, 
or another Mr. Mumby, or yet again a different 
person with Mumby-like charms, but the name in 
any case will serve as a generic term, though if 
I had been Petunia I should have chosen a better 
while I was about it. I do not like to inquire too 

88 MAY 

closely into the situation, for sometimes when she is 
telling me about one of her Mr. Mumbys I am 
thinking of polyanthuses, or of rose grubs, or of 
some other more interesting subject, and it does not 
do to hark back, for this infuriates Petunia. Not to 
listen attentively to her tales of woe is a thing 
almost unpardonable, but to forget the smallest 
detail of them is an insult. So I listen and 
sympathise and refrain from coming to close 
quarters in the matter, and I hear a pathetic tale 
of love and anguish. It is exactly the same narra- 
tive that she told me some few months ago with 
the immaterial difference of a substitution of one 
principal character in the drama for another. But 
Petunia does not detect the resemblance. She 
goes home at last with a huge bunch of china 
roses, and with a face as long as her arm, which 
is saying much, and I am able to turn again with 
a sigh of relief to my garden and my books. 

I have just been enjoying that poem of perennial 
interest and delightful humour, " Caliban upon 
Setebos," which, every time I read it, gives me 
fresh pleasure and new suggestions for its complete 
appreciation. Setebos is the evil genius of gardens. 
He has all the attributes for the part, and it is 
surprising that Caliban did not discover this ; but 
probably he did not only because he could not be 
trusted to work in Miranda's g-arden. If he had 
been permitted to do so he would have discovered 
another side to the malignity of Setebos to confide 
to us. Poor Caliban ! He takes half a winter to 
weave a wattle fence which will stop the she-tor- 
toises as they crawl up the sand, and let him secure 

-MAY 89 

their eggs for his feast. The sea gets up under 
a kick from Setebos, and 

"... licks the whole labour flat." 
He takes pattern from his tormentor ; he sees 
twenty crabs pass safely to the sea, and stones the 
twenty-first. So Setebos ! He sees a bruised one 
and gives it waywardly a worm ; one whose nippers 
end in red, and gives it two worms. So he ! The 
caprice of the little god is repeated in the mere 
mortal, who visits on those weaker than himself 
the indignities which he has first suffered. Our 
Setebos of the garden vexes us fully as much as 
Caliban's of the island vexed him — 

"AVhen all goes right, in this safe summer time, 
And he wants little, hungers, aches not much, 
Then, trying what to do with wit and strength. 
Falls to make something." 

Our Setebos is ingenious. He makes a beautiful 
plant and sets it in the border. The gardener sees 
it and knows it for a stranger, and looks for blossom, 
thinking that he has planted it in the autumn and 
forgotten to note it in his book. It thrives as no 
other plant in the garden has thriven ; in a single 
season it has increased from a tiny leaflet to a large 
clump. It is above everything a "good doer." 
Late in summer, after much cherishing, it blossoms, 
and proves to be a spurge or a yarrow of the 
meanest sort. So Setebos ! 

He is malignant. He waits until the delphiniums 
are safely above ground, and then he teases the 
large black slugs and the small brown slugs, till 
they leave the herbage of the orchard, which in 
reality they like better than anything else, and 

90 MAY 

make a meal off the growing tufts in the borders. 
He taunts the sparrows till they nip off the green 
tips of the sweet peas just coming out of the 
ground, and leave them exposed to view, for they 
do not care to eat them. He has been known to 
incite garden boys to the plucking up of choice 
plants, which he slily insinuates to be weeds of 
loathly sort. He incites the village donkey to 
bray against its better nature ; and, when we have 
planted out our seedlings on the strength of the 
welcome music, we see them fading for weeks 
under the brilliant unwinking sun, which kills them 
before they can get established. So Setebos ! 

Let us hope with Caliban that some day the 
Quiet may catch and destroy Setebos, or that like- 
lier he — 

" Decrepit may doze, doze, as good as die," 

for we shall never have satisfactory gardens until 
this happy day arrives. 


June I "HERE are a good many small items of 
^5- J. work which, while not seeming very- 
important, yet require attention at this time from 
the far-seeing gardener. If the pansies sown and 
transplanted last autumn are to continue their 
flowering season throughout the summer, they must 
be mulched soon with old manure ; so treated they 
will carry blossoms until winter. Lilacs have to 
be pruned, the longest shoots which have bloomed 
being cut out and carried away to the rubbish heap, 
whence, in the form of ashes, they will return later 
to the land. Phloxes and delphiniums must be 
staked, although at present they do not seem to 
require it ; cuttings must be taken of pinks, if the 
wood is firm enough, and struck under hand-lights 
in good soil ; wallflowers must be pricked out from 
the seed-beds into larger quarters, where they can 
stand several inches apart, to ensure their making 
good plants by the time October comes, and with 
October their final planting. The strong tap roots 
should be pinched off, and a good bunch of fibrous 
roots will take their place and make them more 
able to endure winter frosts. The green tops of 
bulbs which have not yet died down may, for the 


92 JUNE 

most part, be removed, even though they are still 
a little green ; and the rose-beds in which they are 
planted should be forked over with a four-inch 
hand fork, an operation easily undertaken by the 
garden boy. Air and dew will thus enter freely 
and penetrate the soil. 

If the sowing of hardy perennials has not 
hitherto been done, this month is not too late to 
get fairly good plants from seed, provided that 
watering is properly attended to. There are few 
that cannot now be sown in the open, although 
some kinds, such as the sea hollies, auriculas, 
and others, need boxes, because their period of 
germination is long, and they are apt to be for- 
gotten if they remain unseen in the earth for many 
months. I have kept a few late things, such as the 
Chinese dianthus and spring-sown snapdragons, in 
four-inch pots, to fill gaps in the borders ; and now 
that the oriental poppies have nearly finished 
flowering they will be cut down level with the 
ground, and these pot plants will be put near and 
around the roots. Pyrethrums may be treated in 
the same way as the poppies, but it is not advisable 
to behave so brutally to most early-flowering plants, 
for some of the weaker-growing perennials would 
resent their temporary extinction, and would prob- 
ably make it a permanent one. 

The fancy pelargoniums are getting near their 
time of rest, and must soon be cut back and 
prepared for next year's flowering. They are 
reduced to the hard wood ; the ball is also made 
smaller, and the plants are set out in a cool frame 
in clean pots. New plants are raised from some of 

JUNE 93 

the cuttings, but our house room being limited 
we cannot grow a large number, so most of the 
stuff goes to the rubbish heap. 


Climbing roses are making the house-front gay 
just now. They are in full bloom — Lamarck, 
Gloire de Dijon, Cheshunt hybrid, 1' Ideal, Bouquet 

94 JUNE 

d'or, and Reine Marie Henriette. The last, which 
is among the most useful of all, should be grown 
on a comparatively cool wall, such as one with an 
aspect due west. Perpetual sunburn is fatal to its 
colour in very hot weather, and the ideal place for 
it is under glass, where, in spring, it comes best and 
brightest. Cheshunt hybrid also, though perfect in 
the bud, is always disappointing when fully expanded, 
Bouquet d'or is a glorified Gloire, with a slightly 
yellower flower and a perfectly formed bud. There 
are one or two early Eugen Fiirsts in the rose-beds, 
for these are the pioneers of the hybrid perpetuals. 
I am always telling myself how sorry I am that I 
have but one bed of chinas ; but except for their 
long-flowering habit I do not care for them, my first 
necessity in roses being those which will live longest 
in water, and are therefore well suited for cutting. 

The borders are looking gay, though not yet in 
full beauty. I am short of various old favourites 
this year, noticeably Canterbury bells, linum nar- 
bonnense, which appears to have been destroyed 
by the wet winter, and gaillardias, which probably 
disliked it even more than the linum. One thing 
which I decide every autumn to banish entirely 
from the borders to the wild garden, and cling to 
devotedly every summer, is the lovely blue alkanet 
[anchusa italica). It is quite as beautiful in colour 
as any delphinium, and far more persistent in 
bloom. It is now in full glory, and I feel that I 
would rather die than be without it. In August, 
when it is lolling over two or three yards of soil 
belonging to other plants, I feel that not I but it 
must die, or be banished at any rate to the grass, 


JUNE 95 

where already there is a considerable colony of it, 
for it does admirably amongst the herbage. 

One thing I must get for my borders before 
another June, and that is a judicious selection of 
plants of a good full yellow colour. At this 
moment there is no brilliant yellow in them except 
eschscholtzias and Iceland poppies, which are only 
annuals, and therefore not to be relied on after 
a hard winter. The Nankeen poppy is very lovely 
in its salmon-apricot tint, but it does not satisfy the 
eye-craving for yellow. My first and chief desire 
is for brilliant gentian blues ; pinks and crimsons 
are essential, and come without effort, as does also 
white ; violets and magentas have to be allowed 
only sparingly and under protest, as it were ; true 
scarlets and real coral pinks are absolutely neces- 
sary, and deserve encouragement. But a real good 
lemon yellow at this time of year is more scarce 
than a true blue, and is quite as great a treasure, 
which is saying much. 

For a June edging I know nothing prettier than 
the pentstemon pi^ocerus at the back, and the big 
white rayless viola, or tufted pansy, as they call it 
nowadays, widely massed in front. For a large 
round bed, with coreopsis grandifiora all over the 
centre, it would be quite suitable ; for, although the 
pentstemon goes out of bloom by the end of the 
month, the violas remain and look beautifully 
harmonious with the coreopsis through the rest of 
the summer. This coreopsis would be a perfect 
plant if it were a true perennial. It is very free 
flowering, most persistent, handsome, and useful for 
cutting. Sometimes it will throw out side growths 

96 JUNE 

which ensure its blooming the following year; but 
more often it has only the life of a biennial, and 
disappears after flowering. However, it is easily 
raised from seed, and the sowing of such a good 
thing in the seed-patch should be as much a matter 
of course as the sowing of the indispensable wall- 
flower. I find here that it distributes itself and 
forms colonies all round the parent plants, which is 
the easiest and pleasantest solution of the problem 
of its culture. Pentstemon procerus, like many 
type pentstemons, cannot endure to be suffocated 
by other plants at any period of its growth. The 
exquisite P. cyananthus (van Brandegii) is just 
coming into full bloom, and has the true blue colour 
so valuable in gardens. I am trying P Jaffrayanus, 
which is well spoken of, but have not seen it in 
flower yet. I find that most pentstemons take a 
fairly long time to establish themselves. 

What a perfect flower is the clematis languinosa, 
Lady Caroline Nevill ! It is too dwarf for a wall, 
and I should like to try it pegged down between 
plants of Mrs. Sinkins pinks. I think that for 
once I should have a conventional arrangement of 
some sort, with the pinks used for outlining, and 
the clematis in large plots for filling in. Then 
planted thickly among the clematis there should be 
quantities of tritonias, which would follow Lady 
Caroline in blooming, the foliage of the pinks 
when the flowers were over being sufficiently 
beautiful in itself to hold its own in the later 
picture. I find tritonia crocosmiceflora perfectly 
hardy, but T. Pottsi dies in a v/inter alternately 
cold and wet. The former is very satisfactory and 

JUNE 97 

increases quickly ; the bulbs also are cheap, which 
is an additional point in their favour. 

The yellow tree lupin is now in its glory, and 
a beautiful thing it is. These were grown from 
seed, and have made good plants in a couple 
of years. I find that the seed should be sown 
plentifully, for some of it fails to germinate. Tree 
lupins appear to flower only on the wood of the 
previous year, and their golden wreaths resemble 
laburnum set the wrong way up ; but they are at 
least three times as enduring when cut as that 
lovely golden chain. I have seeds of a new white 
variety this season, which I am trying ; it cannot 
exceed the yellow in beauty, but there is room 
enough in gardens for more than one g-ood thing. 

June 2^. How hideous is the country on a sun- 
less day in June. Here, where we are apt to look 
for glorious distances and wooded vistas, this is 
particularly noticeable. In place of spring's variety 
of tints the eye travels for miles over a mass of 
dull metallic green, devoid both of charm of colour 
and beauty of form. The trees are in full leaf, and 
show no bright interstices ; they are as lumpy as 
cabbages. The fields in their flat colouring carry 
out the unpleasing scheme, for the young corn is 
still as green as the water meadows. Next month 
we shall at least get relief for the eye in the ripen- 
ing grain, and by August we may hope for some 
variety in the tree foliage again, though not much. 
At present the only charm is in the help which the 
sun gives to the landscape, with its strong contrast 
of light and shade and its varying cloud shadows. 
On a grey day this help is withheld, and all is flat 
monotony of metallic green again. Luckily the one 


98 JUNE 

month which is ugly outside the garden is the most 
beautiful of all within it. The green is tempered 
with other tints; the trees near by are intimate 
friends, and we know what lies under their thick, 
plain faces. We love them because we live with 
them, and we do not expect them always to wear 
their prettiest clothing for us. But with other dis- 
tant trees which are strangers to us, or at best only 
casual acquaintances, we feel no necessity to endure 
their ugliness with patience, and we naturally resent 
it when we can find no delight for the eye in them. 
The aesthetic craving is unsatisfied, and the soul 
within the stranger is not intimate enough with our 
soul to react upon and inspire it. 

But wherever else there may be disappointment, 
there is always something to charm in the orchard. 
The flowers, even at this season, which is their best, 
seem scarce and stingily distributed compared with 
those in the beds, but is it not this which gives 
them that look of Nature's planting which can 
never be amiss ? What surprises me most is the 
perennial habit which the Canterbury bells seem to 
acquire in the grass ; they never fail to reappear in 
each succeeding summer, though they receive no 
attention in any way nor encouragement, such as 
they get in the garden proper. Some of the most 
satisfactory and attractive colonies in the grass are 
formed of the following : — 

Sweet-william, Perennial lupin, 

Italian alkanet. 
Blue flax, 
Single rocket, 
Pheasant-eye pink. 
Single yellow potentilla, 

Oriental poppy, 



Scarlet avens, 







JUNE 99 

There is, besides, a beautiful plant whose botani- 
cal name is crambe cordifolia. It stands from three 
to four feet in height, and is covered with clouds 
of white flowers somewhat resembling the bulbous 
saxifrage in shape and size. It will hold its own 
in the grass if a suitable station is prepared for it. 

We have had a week of intense and airless 
heat after a fortnight of windy heat. I believe 
the mysterious instrument called a hygrometer 
measures more moisture in the air than it did 


a few days since, but it is still hardly beyond 
normal. Yet the sound of trains to the south is 
very distinct ; a donkey is braying in the village 
below ; smoke is blowing down from the chimneys 
on to the lawn ; the swallows are flying lower ; the 
moon will change to-morrow — so surely we are to 
get rain at last. Things are beginning to show 
signs of distress for want of it, and peas would 
really begin to fatten and strawberries to swell more 
quickly if we could get half an inch or so. But it 
has been a glorious season for the haymakers. 
June 28. The welcome rain has come, and we 

loo JUNE 

are rejoicing in it in terribly selfish fashion, for 
are there not many acres of grass still lying un- 
carried and almost as many left uncut ? I pointed 
out to Sterculus this morning that our joy should 
be chastened by this remembrance, but he was 
quite unmoved and unsympathising. " We cain't 
eat hay," he says, as he hugs himself in his own 
peculiar way while surveying his fat pea-pods and 
his newly planted lettuces. He is the more pleased 
because he prophesied this welcome change ; but 
Sterculus's habit of prophecy leaves room for so 
much later hedging that we do not often pay great 
attention to it. " I don't say 'twill rain to-day, and 
I don't say 'twill rain to-morrow ; what I say is, 
'twill rain," is his usual formula, and even we lesser 
mortals feel that we could sometimes get as near 
prophecy by a happy accident. 

I have adopted some of the suggestions con- 
tained in Mr. William Robinson's English Flower 
Garden with very happy results — those, I mean, 
which refer to the growing of successional groups 
of flowers in the borders. A patch of ground, 
for instance, which in early summer is gay with 
blue forget-me-not is later in the year a mass 
of tritonia. The nodding star of Bethlehem 
gives place at this time to the white creeping 
evening primrose, which blooms for the rest of 
the summer. Spanish irises come up and flower 
in a glaucous-coloured carpet of zauschneria cali- 
fornica, which is later than most things in coming 
into blossom. Madonna lilies are planted with 
pyrethrums or with oriental poppies, and succeed 
them with only a few days' interval between. I 

JUNE loi 

greatly dislike bare earth between my clumps, and 
so far as possible dwarf plants are encouraged to 
grow amongst the taller ones, to the vast improve- 
ment of the border's appearance. One makes 
mistakes no doubt at times, and the carpet is 
often of a sort that will smother its com- 
panions as they come up in the spring ; but 
experience is the only guide worth trusting, and 
it is better to learn for oneself that saponaria 
ocymoides will not suffer antirrhinums to emerge 
safely through its twiggy growth with the power 
of doing their best than merely to read this in 
a book and take it for an incontrovertible fact. 
One learns a great deal more than a mere little 
detail about gardening from every mistake which 
one makes in the growing of plants. 

I am an occasional reader of the new fiction known 
by the name of Garden Literature, and of all the 
books of this kind which I have seen I like best 
Elizabeth and her German Garden. One is learn- 
ing that it is idle to look for instruction in flower 
culture in these books, and it is no disappoint- 
ment to discover that Elizabeth's book frankly 
concerns Elizabeth and nothing else. Her garden, 
though it appears on the title-page and on many 
another page of the volume, is obviously incidental, 
and even the Man of Wrath partakes of this nature 
as well as the April, May, and June babies. One 
is fain to realise that although Elizabeth may be 
rather fond of them, she could very well reconcile 
herself to life without them. She is profoundly 
interesting to herself as well as to the reader, 
and her volume is the Book of Elizabeth with 


a German garden and a few other necessary im- 
pedimenta thrown in. Her garden experiences are 
not illuminating, and may be dismissed in a few 
words, for there is little of a horticultural nature 
to be learnt from Elizabeth. To be sure we hear 
much of sweet peas, rockets, roses bought by the 
hundred, hollyhocks, pansies, and other subjects. 
But never a word does she tell us of their culture, 
and for aught that we can learn from her we might 
treat all these things alike, and suffer accordingly. 
Elizabeth would never check us in our foolish- 
ness, though she would make many a jest at it, for 
nothing is sacred from her ribaldry. 

Elizabeth is distinctly a minx. I thought the 
character was extinct, for it disappeared from our 
literature quite suddenly about the time that the 
purpose-novel came into vogue. There was not 
room enough in fiction for both types of heroine. 
But the minx was not extinct ; she was merely 
suffering from boredom, and had gone into retire- 
ment for a time, to re-emerge brilliantly from the 
recesses of a German garden. And the absolute 
certainty that there are April, May, and June 
minxes being brought up to follow in her chartered 
footsteps may relieve us from any fear that the type 
will be lost again. 

Elizabeth is English to the backbone, despite her 
artful attempts to persuade us otherwise. She is 
amusing in describing her adopted compatriots, and 
enjoys many a laugh at their expense. She is 
certain that Dr. Grill must be a German rose, 
because the more attention you pay him the ruder 
will he be to you, or, in other words, the less will he 

JUNE 103 

repay your kindness by expansion. But there are 
very few things and fewer persons for whom Eliza- 
beth has a word of praise, and the only friend whom 
she can endure is one who is clever enough to 
flatter her about her garden. To others she is 
inwardly cold and critical, with a charming affecta- 
tion of plea,santness which would not deceive a 
baby. She dislikes Minora most of all, and is only 
well disposed to her visitor when she notices her 
thick wrists. The fact is that Minora has a beautiful 
nose ; and although Elizabeth would rather die 
than own herself jealous, it is obvious to the 
meanest capacity that this is what ails her. The 
admirable Miss Jones also, whose perfect propriety 
of demeanour is assumed through a rigid sense of 
duty, rouses all her wrath. But what was there, in 
the name of justice, to complain of in Miss Jones ? 
That she had but small respect for her employer 
should not in itself have formed a legitimate 
grievance, since not even a nursery governess can 
control her inward feelings ; and even Elizabeth 
admits that Miss Jones's outward expression was 
severely perfect. And to her bosom friend Irais 
Elizabeth is simply diabolical when she thinks that 
that friend is trespassing a little too long on her 
hospitality. She makes no secret of her opinion 
that the weeks her guests are with her is time lost 
so far as her pleasure is concerned, and even goes 
so far as to say that it rejoices her as much to see 
them oro as to see them come. I am certain that it 


rejoices her far more. 

The truth of the matter is that our good Elizabeth 
has no wholesome illusions ; glamour is unknown 


to her; the bump of reverence is wanting. The 
Man of Wrath, who should surely be sacred, escapes 
her scorn no more than the others, and furnishes 
her with many an opportunity for jibes. I am 
positive that she has failed to bend him to her 
imperious will, as she would fain bend all with 
whom she comes into contact. She has certainly 
not cured him of holding his glass in his left hand, 
and she bears him a perennial grudge in con- 

At the moment when I begin to wonder if there 
is any person in the world for whom she really 
cares, it is a relief to find her confessing that she 
likes her coachman almost as much as her sundial ; 
but it turns out that that is only because he never 
attempts to thwart any of her unreasonable wishes. 
She hates giving presents, lest the recipient shall 
be spoilt and she shall suffer in consequence. She 
has an eccentric dislike to furniture, though I am 
convinced that she would be the first to cry out if 
she had not enough of it, or if her armchair was not 
comfortable, or if her presses were not large enough 
to hold her frocks. But there is no pleasing her. 
Things animate and Inanimate alike annoy her, and 
the one person who is in her eyes entirely charming 
is Elizabeth. 

And indeed she is not very far wrong. She is 
a fascinating being, and Jim, who recommended 
the book to me, finds it difficult to endure with 
equanimity the thought that the Man of Wrath has 
attained by right of conquest the privilege of her 
constant companionship. She will always interest 
the Man of Wrath ; she will never — though the 

JUNE 105 

days may come of grey hair and wrinkles — she will 
even then never bore him. She will keep his 
affection to her dying hour, however flagrantly she 
may deserve to lose it ; but one cherishes a secret 
though perhaps unworthy joy in the assurance that 
inordinately as he may adore her, he will never let 
her know it. Is he not a German husband, closely 
connected in his modes of action with that Dr. Grill 
who rouses Elizabeth's ire ? When she puts forth 
her fascinations the Man of Wrath will retire with 
well-affected indifference to his series of smoky 
dens in the south-east corner of the house. When 
she holds forth on the superiority of the sex he will 
smile blandly down on her, talking her at last into 
passionate flight. He dominates her by sheer 
strength as well as by the power of that calm, 
irritating smile. 

Although Elizabeth has done her best to per- 
suade us, I, for one, do not feel at all sure that 
it was by her own desire that she went to live in 
a German garden. It is much more likely that 
it was the iron will of the Man of Wrath which 
condemned her to it after many ineffectual struggles, 
although she had sense enough when she found 
herself in exile to pretend that she liked it. How 
else should the commiseration of the neighbour- 
ing Patronising Potentate — a woman potentate, of 
course — have roused her to such anger, if some 
secret sting had not lain in the words — 

"Ah, these husbands! They shut up their 
wives because it suits them, and don't care what 
their sufferings are." 

It was the painful unacknowledged truth of the 

io6 JUNE 

remark which stung the resentful Elizabeth. And 
this explains the whole book. 

Here is a woman, young and lovely, though 
somewhat lacking in perfection of nasal organ, 
condemned by her Bluebeard of a husband to live 
in a remote Schloss sorely against her will. The 
unfortunate lady immediately becomes a cynic, and 
professes contempt of worldly enjoyments. But 
revenge is sweet, and in her case necessary to 
her well-being-, so she sits down to write a book 
which will proclaim her wrongs abroad. In this 
book she wreaks her vengeance on society, on her 
friends both present and absent, on her insentient 
furniture, on her servants (except the one whom 
she likes nearly as much as her sundial), on her 
governess, and even on her husband. She employs 
as her vehicle the form of the New Fiction as 
more likely to attract attention than the old, for 
if she had put her experiences into an ordinary 
novel, the circulation might have been limited to 
a paltry five hundred or so. But Elizabeth knew 
better than to do this, and the result is exactly 
as she anticipated, for everybody has a bowing 
acquaintance with her, and everybody is devoted 
to her. She has a real live charm such as is 
seldom found in the mere heroine of fiction, and 
I will gladly read every word which it may enter 
her capricious head to write, no matter on what 
subject she may choose to discourse us. 

A totally different book is Mr. Alfred Austin's 
Garden that I Love, for while Elizabeth gives us, 
or pretends to give us, all her inmost thoughts, 
Mr. Austin bestows upon us as many treasures of 

JUNE 107 

actual conversation as he can conveniently gather 
together. Our Laureate, as we who read our 
Times know well, is nothing if not articulate. He 
gives us poems to fit our many imperial moods, 
and we are secure of the enjoyment at first hand 
of the inspiring afHatus, because we are assured 
that we receive them just as they come to him. 
I suppose, therefore, that the mere man does not 
venture to correct, to add to, or to take from the 
heaven-sent beauties bestowed on the poet's pen. 

In the Garden that I Love there is a consider- 
able amount of Mr. Austin's verse. It is difficult 
to know how much, for both he and Shakespeare 
are alike without quotation marks. This is a great 
pity. The original verse might have stood un- 
supported, but surely Shakespeare and other similar 
writers should have been propped by quotation 
marks. How else can we distinguish between them 
and him ? The situation even disarms criticism, 
if any criticism were possible, for how could the 
mere ordinary person venture to take exception to 
a passage which might turn out to be Milton's ? 
It is obvious that the only thing to be done by 
the wary reader is to ignore the poetical portions 
of the book, and to enjoy that part which describes 
the garden and its inhabitants ; even so there is 
much still left us. 

Four persons inhabit the Garden that I Love — 
the writer, who is also the gardener, his sister 
Vferonica, and his friends the poet and Lamia. At 
least we are artfully persuaded that there are four 
persons ; in reality there are only two — Veronica, 
and the gardener-poet rolled with Lamia into one. 

io8 JUNE 

When these three speak seriously — and there is a 
good deal of serious speaking in the book — you 
would not know, if you shut your eyes, which of 
them is addressing you. Lamia, to be sure, has 
her frivolous moments, when for a brief space she 
makes a possible third ; but when she is rhetorical 
she is one with the gardener and the poet. 
Veronica, on the other hand, has a separate 
identity ; she is a simple being, and if she has 
views she keeps them carefully to herself There 
is something very lovable about Veronica. She 
listens patiently for hours to all that the others 
have to say, and then she goes away and makes 
tea for them. She knows how exhausted they 
must be. They get rid of so many treasures of 
thought that they must necessarily be left swept 
and empty ; the need of sustenance is plainly in- 
dicated, and Veronica supplies it. 

Perhaps, however, the exhaustion is less than 
it might have been if certain circumstances had 
not come to their aid ; and herein is manifest 
the wisdom of the Pooh-Bah arrangement. The 
chronicler can give us treasures of verse as from 
the mouth of the poet, paragraphs of floricultural 
details through the lips of the gardener, and gems 
of general utility from the irresponsible Lamia. 
The talents of the three if displayed in one person 
would invite incredulity. We should think it im- 
possible that one small head could carry all the 
aphorisms and gnomic sayings which the three 
are anxious to distribute. We might begin to fear 
cerebral congestion. So to spare ourselves distress 
and anxiety we allow the writer to persuade us 

JUNE 109 

that there are indeed three heads under the three 
hats, and thus we breathe again. 

The poet sometimes gives vent to an untenable 
theory, but the gardener and Lamia, of course, 
cannot be expected to set him right, and dear 
little Veronica adores him far too much to do so. 
He is bold enough to justify in the name of 
restraint the bald and simple verse which is held 
by some of our later poets to be one with the 
true stuff. I cannot quite go with him here. 
Restraint is, no doubt, an admirable quality, but 
one ceases to admire it when it is inevitable. 
It is difficult to esteem the restraint of a gagged 
man who refrains from using bad language. The 
restraint and nothing more of which we see so 
much is a poor thing as a quality of verse, and 
it is difficult to perceive how rdme agit^e of a 
great poet in its moment of wildest frenzy could 
be "controlled by the serenity of the mind." 
Rigorous self-criticism is an essential, but I think 
that it would follow, not accompany, the frenzy. 
A poet must feel much in order to make his readers 
feel a little ; he must weep many tears to ensure 
that they shall weep a few. When a poet places 
us in a situation where tears are obviously in- 
dicated, I fancy we are justified in blaming him 
if they do not come. If we accuse him not of 
restraint, but, like the gagged man, of. want of 
power, I think we could make good our opinion. 
I do not for a moment mean to disparage the poet's 
admiration of restraint as a beautiful and a neces- 
sary quality in verse, but merely to contend that 
most of the restraint that would call itself by that 

no JUNE 

name is of the sort which cannot help itself, and 
this must be regarded as a defect and not as a 

But if the poet sometimes rouses in me the spirit 
of contradiction, the gardener takes a mean revenge 
by trying to mystify his readers just as they think 
that they are getting on nicely. His garden fills 
one with envy, not only because there seem to be 
no failures in it, but also on account of its aspect, 
which varies apparently to suit the flora of different 
climes. Its orientation is certainly a little difficult 
to understand, but of course I am quite prepared to 
ascribe the difficulty to my own stupidity, and to 
believe that occasionally it slopes from north-east 
to south-west, and again that it looks south-east, 
simply because the gardener tells me so. But even 
this readjustment of Nature's aspects will not quite 
account for all the wonders that are in that garden. 
On the 30th of May the gardener's wood is covered 
with primroses, and this is not mentioned as an 
out-of-the-way state of things, but is given as a 
mere matter of fact. I, who have not his gift of 
extending the seasons to keep my garden in beauty, 
have indeed seen primroses on the 30th of May, 
but I have never had the luck of beholding a wood 
in the south of England " diapered with them " on 
that date. I can only believe and sigh for my own 
more limited opportunities. On the same date the 
gardener describes his tulips as having closed their 
petals for the night. Though it is a little late for 
Dutch tulips, he might persuade us to recognise an 
equal latitude for them as for the primroses but 
that he has informed us in a previous chapter that 

JUNE 1 1 1 

he takes up these bulbs during the third week of 
May and lays them in by the heels. Of course, one 
is then justified in jumping to the conclusion that 
these flowers which have closed their petals for 
the night are the late English tulips, until one is 
reminded that in a previous chapter he has told us 
that he has never made proper use of these. This 
is one of those mysteries which hurt the under- 
standing. Has he made any use of them, and are 
they the flowers that have just closed their petals for 
the night, or are his Dutch tulips so kind as to give 
him a further season of their beauty after they are 
laid in by the heels? These perplexities in a book 
which should help me in my gardening ought not 
so to be. They are too cruel to the merely average 
floriculturist. They make me feel how small are 
my powers in comparison with the powers of the 
gardener in this book, /cannot find large expanses 
of bluebells on my domain towards the latter end of 
June ; my woods are not diapered with primroses 
on the 30th of May ; I cannot grow woodruff from 
cuttings. I cannot get half the good results that 
this gardener gets from his garden, and the con- 
sciousness not only of my inferior powers, but also 
of Nature's unkindness in giving less lavishly to 
me than to others, induces feelings of depression 
akin to despair. The gardener-poet tells us that if 
he were asked which of his works he likes best he 
would answer "My garden." I have never seen 
his garden, so it is obviously impossible for me to 
re-echo this sentiment. But it must be a delightful 
garden to wander in and to admire, even at the risk 
of unworthy -feelings of envy and the like. Loving 

112 JUNE 

care has been lavished upon it without stint, and 
Nature has met the workers more than half-way, 
and has griven them of her best. But it is some- 
thing more than a beautiful srarden. It is a beauti- 
ful background in a beautiful picture^ — a background 
for inspiring thoughts and brilliant conversation 
which demand an outlet there before appearing on 
the printed page to delight a wider though hardly 
a more appreciative audience. 

Although Jim is an adorer of Elizabeth, his 
special detestation in literature is the garden book, 
and in this he is supported, as in many other things, 
by Magdalen Clifford. If I have neglected before 
to mention Magdalen, it is not because I do not 
love her very dearly, though for years it would 
never have occurred to me that she could be loved 
of our family ; for she is that supplanter who 
stepped into Jim's heritage. When she came to 
the property she was a toddling child governed 
by her mother, who established a successful feud 
between herself and us. When we returned to our 
village there was no thought of any intercourse 
between ourselves and our cousins at the Manor. 
Magdalen's mother had made that impossible. 
But four years later, on a day when joy bells rang 
for Magdalen's coming of age, and the tenantry 
were to be feasted and the county to be entertained 
— on that day, in the fresh spring morning, a slim 
girl's figure swung through our garden gate, and 
stepped up the straight path, and demanded to see 
Jim and me. 

"I am of age to-day," she said. " I am eighteen, 
and I may do as I like. I want you to let me know 



you ; I want to be friends. I am of age, and my 
own mistress, and I have been longing for it just 
that I might come to you. You won't send me 
away ? " 

There was a suspicious break in the fresh young 
voice, and I kissed her, and I am sure that Jim 
would have liked to kiss her too. The feud was at 
an end from that moment, and even the intolerable 
mother, when we went home that morning- with 
Magdalen, tried to pretend that it had never existed. 
The years have passed since then, and Magdalen is 
older by more than a thousand days, but is no less 
winning than she was on that morn of reconcilia- 
tion. Hardly a day passes that she does not come 
to us, or we to her, and I have known her secret 
long ago, though she has never told it. But Jim, 
being a man, is stupid at seeing, or, if he sees, he 
keeps his counsel well. I do not know that I have 
much hope in the matter. Magdalen is proud, but 
Jim's pride is to hers like a mountain to a road 
grit ; and even if he cared, which I doubt, he 
would not let her know. There would be too much 
involved in it for him. 

June 2g. We are keeping the young cineraria 
plants in a cold frame on the north side of a hedge, 
and a veil of tiffany is laid near to shade them 
when the sun is high in the heavens. Cinerarias 
will not do their best if they have much warmth at 
any stage of their growth except the last. It cost 
me several packets of seed and three seasons' ex- 
perience before I could impress this fact upon 
Sterculus, but he talks now as if I were a babe 
and he my instructor in cineraria growing. 

114 JUNE 

" It ain't no good-on to talk about moving these 
here into the greenhouse," he will say about Sep- 
tember, a propos of no remark of mine ; " for not a 
step will they go for the next two months if / can 
help it." 

This is the good Sterculus's way of showing me 
that he has learnt his lesson. I ought to point out 
to him that he is mistaken in assuming that I want 
to coddle the cinerarias. I ought to put a stop to 
his domineering tone of voice ; I ought, in fact, 
to "keep him in his place," as Mrs. Clifford is fond 
of telling me. But I am still glad of him, and 
I know he is glad of me, in spite of his peculiar 
way of showing it. So I accept his scorn, being 
meek as a mouse the while, and look as though I 
had learnt a valuable lesson from him, while he goes 
away grunting that he isn't going to ruin his plants, 
not for nobody. I wonder if I shall always be glad 
of Sterculus, or if I may not perchance some day 
contemplate with satisfaction the idea of his de- 
parture, loving tender of my garden though he is. 


July T^ XPERIENCE of a bitter sort is teach- 

4- J J ing me ever the necessity of staking 

plants. In principle it is, of course, an atrocious 
thing that should never be permitted in borders, 
but it is essentially necessary in spite of principle. 
Some things, such as oriental poppies, cry aloud 
even in infancy for stakes ; but pyrethrums, erige- 
rons, delphiniums, dahlias, and other robust plants 
stand up so bravely before their blossoms form that 
it is hard to believe that they will require support 
later. The mischief is done when storms come 
just as the stems are heavy with blooms, as they 
did this year. They can be staked in their early 
days in such a way as to show but little sign of 
their props at the blooming period. The best time 
to do it is when they have practically attained their 
full height, but show no flower buds, and the best 
kind of stake is the roughly tooled one of deal 
or any harder wood, painted by the gardener the 
colour known as Aspinall's fig-green. ' 

This is about the time to thin the buds of carna- 
tions. A general florist's rule is to leave the first, 
third, and fourth, but the amateur will do well to 
act in the matter by the light of nature, only pro- 


ii6 JULY 

viding that each blossom shall have sufficient stem 
to itself to allow of its being comfortably picked 
when the flowering time comes. The Margaret 
carnations which have survived the winter are as 
forward as the ordinary border kinds, and require 
more severe thinning than they. With a good 
stock of border plants it is not worth while to keep 
the Margarets through the winter, as the, season 
is not thereby prolonged. But all must sow seed 
of these carnations under glass in February and 
March, to ensure flowers for cutting in the autumn. 
Last year I picked my last bunch- — of but half a 
dozen blooms, I confess — on Christmas Day, but 
the weather would rarely in any season permit this 
after November, if so late. I have just seen in 
a friend's garden a dozen enormous clumps, over 
a yard in diameter, of a certain border carnation 
which he has had for years. The flower is some- 
thing the colour of the rose Mrs. John Laing, but 
deeper in tone, and I have begged some layers 
from the lucky possessor. A carnation that will 
increase and prosper in this manner, instead of 
dwindling away in a decline after the first year 
or two, is a valuable addition to a garden. 

This is a good time to look over the borders 
and judge what things should be removed in the 
autumn, whether through over-abundant growth 
or by their present juxtaposition with plants whose 
colours do not harmonise with theirs. The crimson 
pyrethrums, for instance, though pretty enough in 
themselves, rarely blend well with other flowers. 
It is best to keep them in one part of the border, 
and closely among them may be planted bulbs of 

JULY 117 

the Madonna lily, and of some later kinds also, to 
continue the season of bloom in that part of the 

Roses are a feature of the garden now. I am 
not specially successful with them, but they are 
doing well this year. To-day I cut seventy blooms 
for the house, and left over three hundred equally 
good ones on the bushes. The only very dark one 
that never fails is Eugen Fiirst. It is a beautiful 
velvety claret colour, remarkably free -blooming, 
and easily managed. It is not so perfect a flower 
as Jean Liabaud at its best, which I consider the 
finest of all the dark roses ; but I do not get one 
good bloom in a dozen of Jean Liabaud, while 
every one comes right of Eugen Fiirst. Of true 
rose-coloured ones Countess of Oxford is as use- 
ful as any, its early blossoms especially being of 
a wonderful glowing tint. In bright crimsons 
A. K. Williams is unsurpassed to my mind, Ulrich 
Brunner and Marie Baumann being also excellent. 
Among pinks I like best Madame Gabrielle Luizet, 
Mrs. John Laing, and Captain Christy for good 
all-round serviceable qualities, and Margaret Dick- 
son, Violette Bouyer, and Clio are a good white 
trio. All these are easy to rear and to do well. 
I have made several disastrous experiments in rose- 
growing, and am gradually getting rid of such as 
will not repay ordinary attention. I had a bed, 
for instance, of Salamander, and another of Ella 
Gordon, both greatly lauded by the growers, and 
admirable flowers at their best, but as they never 
let me see their best I ceased to think them worth 
giving up my beds to, and they are now trying to hold 


their own in an ignoble place under some standards, 
and failing sadly still. Spenser, also, in which- I 
indulged freely without any experience to guide 
me, turned out to be scentless, and though in most 
years an admirable doer, it is consequently devoid 
of charm for me. It is a sport from Baroness 
Rothschild, or from her progeny Her Majesty, and 
inherits this bad quality from her. 


July 75. Crimson Rambler over a bower is 
looking exquisite. It ought to be grown with 
The Garland, if any combination is desired with 
it. The two bloom together, and the white and 
crimson look well intermixed. An old-fashioned 
evergreen rose. Flora, on a north wall is good in 
many useful respects. It makes rampant wood, 
and one can cut great boughs of it for the house. 
Its shell-tinted little blossoms are beautiful of their 
kind, though they would not satisfy those persons 

JULY 119 

who must have all their flowers of the largest size. 
A hedge of white Ayrshires and pink hedge-roses 
has been spoilt by the new pony, who puts his head 
over and eats all the blooms_he can reach, with not 
a few thorns as well. 


The yellow alstromerias are in full glory. There is 
a round bed of them, edged with funkia grandiflora, 
whose beautiful frinee leads the longf stems of the 
alstromerias gently into the ground. Many persons 
refrain from growing alstromerias because they do 
not consider them hardy, but they are hardy enough 
if planted nine inches below the surface, and un- 

120 JULY 

like many bulbous things, they do not object to such 
a deep burial. They are rampant growers, and it 
is best not to combine them with other flowers, as 
they soon smother all their neighbours. Oriental 
poppies may be cut down to the ground as soon as 
they have ceased flowering. Some of mine which 
were so treated towards the end of June are now 
throwing up good tufts of foliage which will prevent 
their being an eyesore much longer. 

Very few persons care properly for the various 
evening primroses which add such a charm to the 
garden in July. The too persistent and troublesome 
Oenothera biennis and its allies should be kept in 
the wild garden, but such varieties as CE. Youngii, 
CE. speciosa, and CE. taraxacifolia are some of the 
best perennials I know, full of a refined beauty and 
flowering over a fairly long season. They are all 
easy to grow, and it is worth while in the case of 
the last, which has what I should consider an un- 
deserved reputation for tenderness, to throw over 
the clumps in winter a handful of ashes or of fern. 
This dandelion-leafed evening primrose makes very 
large spreading plants in late summer, its prostrate 
shoots sometimes reaching a yard or more from 
its root ; and it is well to plant with it some 
earlier bulbous flower which will bloom before the 
Oenothera's season begins in July. The Spanish 
iris makes an admirable companion for it. 

This is St. Swithun's Day, and the annual village 
feast is being celebrated. Every Giles takes his 
Jane, and the enjoyment is fast and furious. I 
used to go to it sometimes when I was younger, 
but this led more than once to complications of 

JULY 121 

an awkward sort. It is better not to see one's 
rustic friends when they are in a state which could 
only euphemistically be called rollicking. And 


besides, they hurt one's feelings sometimes when 
beer is inside them. 

" We likes 'ee ; we be alius glad to see 'ee— but 
we can do wi'out 'ee," said one of my best friends 
on such an occasion as this. 

"I've knowed 'ee since I used to kiss 'ee when 



'ee was the height of a sha-a-ft," said an ancient 
carter in liquor on another feast day to me. So 
perhaps it is better to stay away both for their 
credit and for my own. The last time I was there 

'the height of a sha-a-ft" 

we went a little party of four, and we took refuge 
from rollickers at the cocoanut shy. The cocoa- 
nut man supplied us with the value of a few pence 
in wooden balls with the utmost alacrity ; but very 
soon his delight turned to gloom, and presently he 
offered us sixpence to desist from our throwing, so 

JULY 123 

even he could "do wi'out us." I shall not eo to our 
feast again, for although I like to see the rustic 
enjoy himself, I do not care to meet him in his cups. 
The sight is not a pretty one. 

And yet it is wonderful when one comes to con- 
sider the vast improvement that a few years have 
worked in this matter. The agricultural labourer 
may not yet be a sober man, but he is infinitely more 
sober than he used to be when I was a airL and the 
best sign of all is in the fact that public opinion is 
dead against him when he is given to indulgence in 
too much liquor. Formerly the thing was so much 
a matter of course that there appeared to be no 
difference, or at any rate very little, between the 
uniformly steady man and the man who was given 
to an occasional " breaking out," in the estimation 
of his neighbours of his own rank. But education 
and a general tendency to level up have done 
wonders in raising the standard of public opinion, 
and the man who only indulges in an occasional 
debauch is looked upon almost as coldly as the 
hopeless sot who spends every night and half his 
earnings at the public-house. 

The rustic is a curious and amusing study when 
he first begins to feel the craving for self-improve- 
ment, especially if the time for such craving has 
been delayed until his youth is past. The process 
is somewhat uncomfortable while it is yet a process, 
for it seems necessarily to involve the giving up of 
old ways and modes of thought simply because they 
are old — of throwing off recognised customs merely 
because they have existed too long. The man of 
advanced views in a country village has no means 

124 JULY 

of testing these views and proving their value ; they 
can never develop into experience. He has a 
yearning for another sphere of action in which his 
associates will be those who think as he thinks, but 
he is probably married, and the burdens of the 
father and the householder restrict his liberty, so 
he tries to compass for his children that enlarge- 
ment which he has no means of actually securing 
for himself. 

One of my friends is a man of this description. 
He prides himself on his modernity, and he despises 
his wife a little because she cannot understand him. 
Maria has been brought up in conventional mode, 
and any departure from it strikes her merely as 
eccentric — "comical," as it is called in village circles. 
So the two are living at opposite poles, but they 
meet and shake hands whenever the question of the 
children arises. 

" I don't know what to do wi' the childern," sighs 
poor Maria, with latent pride and yet a little antici- 
patory fear ; "they be gettin' so clever." 

" They be ! " responds her husband proudly. 

" When they comes home from school they talks 
about oblongs an' sperricals, an' I don't know what 
they be drivin' at, Dan'el." 

" Danny-ul," corrects the husband, who goes in 
for correctness of speech so far as he recognises it. 

" Danny-ul," assents Maria. 

" Ah ! " says Daniel, with a reproachful shake of 
the head at his wife's hopeless ignorance, " mine 
be a clever fam'ly, Merire, an' no mistake ; an' 
when folks asks where they gets it from, I says, 
' Not from their moother.' That's what I says, 
' Not from their moother.' " 

JULY 125 

" Maybe," assents Maria wearily. 

Maria thinks that it is the duty of a woman to 
listen to her husband's words of wisdom, to fetch 
and to carry for him, to bear him children and to 
be their slave, to keep his house clean, and to earn 

"not from their moothek" 

a little money in the intervals by field-work or 
charing. Her politics, unlike her husband's, are 
extremely narrow. The only government from 
which she has ever received any tangible benefit is 
an ecclesiastical one, and her hopes and expectations 
centre on the prime ministry of the parson. If a 

126 JULY 

pig dies he is good for several shillings towards its 
successor ; his long-tailed coats cut up into two for 
the boys, with a piece to spare for patches ; his 
store of beef-tea and little liver pills and flannel is 
practically inexhaustible. Of course, there are many 
things which he might give her, yet does not give ; 
she by no means approves entirely even of him. 
But on the other hand there is, with his exception, 
no person in the world from whom she can count 
on extracting anything whatever ; and her politics 
are confined to the maintenance of friendly relations 
with the sole government which comes within the 
limit of her experience. 

Her religion is also narrow. She clings with 
fervour to the book of Genesis and to a few other 
plain and simple stories in subsequent portions of 
the Bible which seem to her coherent and worthy 
of attention. Sometimes this is a grief to her 
husband, who objects to her readings as behind the 
feeling of the age. 

" Don't tell the child the world was made in six 
days, an' don't tell en it wasnt" he urges. " Leave 
en to puzzle it out fer hisself — himself — an' come to 
the conclusion whe'r it sounds a likely story." 

For Daniel calls himself "an up-to-date sort o' 
feller," and objects to bigotry from any point of 
view whatever. " Us findy-seekle chaps goes fer 
toleration," he says, and his politics and his religion 
are alike devoid of prejudice, except at election 
times, when his innate Liberalism becomes some- 
what rabid in its quality. 

He is very firm on the subject of education. His 
children dare not miss an attendance at school, for 

JULY 127 

he maintains that from education come all the good 
things of life. The arts especially impress him with 
their importance. He never grudges the money to 
buy a violin for Jessie or a cornet for Sidney ; but 
it is Maria who has to scrape and to save and to go 
shabby to pay the bill, for a wage of fifteen shillings 
a week leaves little margin for luxuries. 

" Did Choice go out an' take a picter to-day as I 
told en ? " he asks, after supper. 

" Yes, Dan'el." 

" Danny-ul." 

"Yes, Danny-ul, he did." 

" What picter did he take ? " 

"Him an' Tom Dunch went up to the vicarage 
an' set down afore the house an' took its picter quite 
comferable. The Vicar come out an' looked at 'em." 

"Ah! the Vicar '11 see as he ain't the on'y one 
as can take sketches of other folks' houses," says 
Daniel, with satisfaction. "Our eddication autho- 
rities is gettin' the right way to work at last. In 
twenty years' time there'll be as many artisses in 
cottages as there is in mansions. Let me see the 

The picture has been carefully put away in the 
drawer of the dresser, wrapped in a sheet of 
Reynolds . Daniel holds it between his finger and 
thumb, and puts his head first on one side and then 
on the other, to focus it rightly. 

"There's talent in it," he remarks admiringly, 
when he has finished his scrutiny; "there's talent 
in it. I don't say 'tis like a house, an' I don't say 
'tis the size of a house. What I says is, there's 
talent in it. I see — saw — a sketch of Mr. Bunce's 

128 JULY 

the other day, an' 'twas done — ^did — done pretty 
much in this style ; the cows was on'y about an 
inch long an' the barns wasn't a quarter o' their 


nateral length. You see you couldn't get 'em all 
in if you was to make 'em life-size. You couldn't 
get a cow in, let alone a barn." 

It has struck Maria that the windows in Choice's 

JULY 129 

cottage are ludicrously inadequate for the admission 
of light and air, and the dog lying on the doorstep 
is more the size of a blackbeetle than of a dog, 
for Choice's hand has been guided by the Vicar, 
and proportion and perspective have been to some 
extent recognised in consequence. The many 
chromos on the kitchen wall are accepted as mere 
pictures, not being comparable with anything exist- 
ing in nature. But everyone knows old Toby, 
and loud guffaws would be likely to follow the 
exhibition of a portrait which makes him look 
no larger than a wasp on the window-pane. 

"When there's anything in a picter as can't be 
understood, Merire, or anything as looks unnateral, 
depend upon it 'tis summat — somethink — artistic. 
This here sketch shows talent, and this here sketch 
is up to date. I shall make a frame fer it the next 
wet day we gets, an' Choice shall be an artis'." 

Daniel is a keen observer of the phenomena 
of nature, and a student of White's History of 
Selborne, which he borrows from the village library. 
He cordially agrees with most of the theories con- 
tained in this book, not excepting that one which 
represents the swallow as hibernating in the mud 
at the bottom of ponds. He holds that he could 
have told the author many details which are miss- 
ing from the History, as well as much that he 
reads therein, and could in this latter case have 
spared him the trouble of puzzling them out for 
himself. He has lately taken to astronomy, and 
has learnt the names and positions of a few of the 
principal constellations, and at times of eclipses and 
of the reappearance of comets he has much to say, 


130 JULY 

Meteors also greatly interest him, and those which 
were expected some time since, and never arrived, 
roused his scorn of the wise men who had foretold 
them. He spent several nights in searching for 
them, and even now he is not tired of relating his 
curious experiences to a sympathetic listener. 

" I scanned the horrazon," he says, " from Uriah 
to Ursula Major " (did he mean from Orion to 
Ursa Major?), "an' I saw no me-oters whatever. 
But some queer things happened in the sky — ■ 
things as comical as ever I did see. Ursula was 
behavin' quite proper" (very consoling, this), "an' 
the Pole Star, he never budged an inch ; but most 
o' the big stars wandered about a good bit, some 
on 'em as many as twenty or thirty yards from their 
rightful plazes. There wasn't no me-oters, not to 
call me-oters, but what I says is I expects that's 
how they went off." 

I cannot quite follow my friend Daniel's line of 
reasoning here, but his interest in astronomy is as 
indisputable as his strict sobriety. 

Jtily 24. Before the end of this month two of 
the most important of outdoor operations demand 
attention — the budding of roses and the layering 
of carnations. 

Few things are more heartbreaking than to see 
unclouded skies succeed each other, day in, day 
out, all through the time when rosebuds are crying 
aloud to be united to the brier stock. I have 
never been very successful in budding after giving 
them water from the watering-pot, though I have 
carried on the operation for a week or more before 
budding. The natural rain from heaven is far more 

JULY 131 

satisfactory than the gardener's feeble attempts to 
supply moisture. This year Jupiter Pluvius has 
been good to us, and the sap is rising fairly 
quickly after a considerable period of dry weather. 
Budding is not easily learned from books; a half- 
hour's lesson from a practical gardener will teach 
it far more easily and correctly. But it is well 
to remind oneself at times of little details which 
may possibly be forgotten. 

All through the spring an eye is kept on the 
stocks, and only those branches are allowed to 
grow which are the required height from the base 
of the tree. We generally keep two shoots on 
each stock, and enter buds on both, in case one 
should fail ; if both take, the upper one is removed 
by cutting away the head. It is a great mistake to 
shorten back the spray at the time of budding, for 
this checks the flow of sap, and the buds may fail 
for want of nourishment. 

When the stock has been budded the gardener's 
care does not yet come to an end. In favourable 
circumstances the bud unites in five or six weeks' 
time, and the heads must be looked over and the 
ties loosened a little if they require it ; that is to 
say, if the bud is swelling and the ligature is tight. 
Sometimes the bud remains dormant until the 
following spring, so that the tie need not be 
unbound ; but often it begins to grow in the late 
summer, and requires stopping as soon as it is a 
few inches high. This causes the sap to con- 
centrate in the rings, and thus to prepare the way 
for the pushing of side-shoots next spring, and the 
consequent formation of a good head. About 

132 JULY 

October we cut in the head of wild brier to a 
moderate extent, not entirely removing it ; and 
even in March, when the tree is finally trimmed, 
one bud of the wild branch is left above the in- 
serted bud. This is called the sap bud, and it 
draws the sap upward and helps the scion to push 
into a head. If this wild bud were not left the sap 
might not easily flow into the inserted scion, and 
the brier would throw up side-shoots all down the 
stem instead of concentrating its powers on the new 

With the pruning of the spray in March comes 
the cutting in of the brier top, which was probably 
a few inches taller than the branch on which the 
bud was entered. This top is cut down in a slightly 
slanting direction so closely to the base of the 
budded shoot that hardly more than the eighth of 
an inch shall remain above it. The wound is 
covered with clay paint to prevent the loss of 

Presently the sap bud begins to grow vigorously, 
and when it has shown perhaps three pair of 
leaves it is stopped by nipping off the top. This 
will induce the inserted bud to take the lead, and 
it should now grow away merrily, the sap bud being 
reduced, if necessary, by degrees to smaller dimen- 
sions, and finally about midsummer cut away alto- 
gether. By this time the wild growth will be 
entirely superseded by the rose, which should be 
a good tree, carrying the best flowers it will ever 
bear, for from these maiden plants come the finest 
blooms which adorn the tables at the rose shows. 

Carnations should be layered while yet the plants 

JULY 133 

are in full flower, or they will not root sufficiently 
to be transplanted in the early autumn. Conse- 
quently the end of July, or the early days of 
August, are the most suitable. The earth is 
scraped away round the plants to a depth of two 
inches, and the hole is filled up with good potting 
soil. Each shoot is stripped up to the top four 


joints, and then with a sharp knife the cut is made 
half through a shoot, just below a joint, with a slant 
upward and through the joint. A layering peg is 
inserted into the compost above the tongue, and as 
the peg comes down into the ground it catches the 
tongue and thrusts it into the earth. A little more 
soil is placed over the tongue, the plants are care- 
fully watered, and by early October they should be 

134 JULY 

well rooted and ready to transfer to their flowering 

July 2^- The curate has just called on his way- 
home from his holiday. He has been for three 
weeks in Normandy, and, as he was walking, I 
naturally asked him where his luggage was. 

"In ma pawket," he replied. 

There was no sign of a bulge in any of his 
pockets except the betraying outline of a pipe over 
his heart. The dear old man is leaving here next 
month, and intends to die in the North Country, 
where he was born and, from his speech, evidently 
reared as well. He is parlous old — anything be- 
tween seventy and eighty — and his faculties are 
not what they were. The Sunday before he went 
for his holiday there was to be a baptism at the 
evening service, and the clerk, to ensure his re- 
membering it, wrote on the back of a National 
Anthem, which, had been left unnoticed ever since 
the Accession, the warning words — 

" Crisnen after 2 lessen." 

Mr. Tyler jumped up from his knees in the 
middle of the General Confession, and announced 
firmly — 

" We will now sing ' God save the King.' " 

The choirman nearest him redirected his atten- 
tion to his prayer, and after a breathless interval of 
anxiety all went well again. One Sunday last 
spring he unconsciously modified one of the peti- 
tions in the Litany in a rather startling manner, 
which, however, was quite unperceived by his 
rustic congregation. 

"That it may please Thee to bless and preserve 

JULY 135 

to our use George Prince of Wales, the Princess of 
Wales, and all the Royal Family, so that in due 
time we may enjoy them." 

These alterations in divine service are a little 
disturbing to the attentive worshipper, though we 
are now quite accustomed to his announcing the 
hymn as the "three hundred and forty-second morn- 
ing of the month," and there is not a smile as we 


look for the canticle so numbered in our books. 
I heard a small choir-boy, however, whose patience 
presumably was exhausted, say to another one even- 
ing as we issued in the dark from the porch — 

' What / says is, he's like a old 'orse as ought to 
be shot " ; but luckily Mr. Tyler is deaf, and as the 

136 JULY 

child had no thought that he was overheard it 
seemed best to ignore the remark. Everyone likes 
the good old soul, and wishes him well. The God 
to whom he tries his best to lead us is a strictly 
anthropomorphic Being, and the heaven he pro- 
mises us every Sunday would rival the Mohamme- 
dan paradise. We rarely get a sermon without a 
vivid description of " the dainties and deli^a^cies of 
the Kingdom of Heaven," and he smacks his lips 
when he speaks of them. He has had so few 
nice things in his life, poor dear ! There are 
other stereotyped features in his sermons which 
we look for every Sunday, such as "going up and 
down the rahpids of life " ; and when he traces the 
footsteps of biblical exemplars for our guidance, he 
does not follow them from the cradle to the graye, 
but from the " bahsinette to the sepulchre." 


Au£r. T AMMAS DAY rouses in me all the anta- 
^- L J gonism to our modern land tenure of 
which my disposition is capable. A feature which 
was once so prominent in village life and is now 
non-existent was the possession by the people of 
large tracts of land held in common. From Lam- 
mas or from Michaelmas to Lady Day these tracts 
practically belonged to the villager. We have in 
this parish various large portions of waste and 
marsh lands which at one time formed part of 
a great public property. Even so recently as the 
year 1550 a Survey of the parish recites the 
boundaries of extensive heaths and commons on 
which parishioners were entitled to pasture their 
cattle ; but it is probable that these rights of 
" free communication " had in some degree lapsed 
before the lands were enclosed and appropriated 
by the lord of the manor in 1820. In Saxon days, 
however, they must have formed a considerable 
portion of the whole parish. 

Though the point has never been clearly set at 
rest, it is justifiable to believe that at the periods 
of the early settlements of our country a large 
proportion of the land belonged to the people. 



The freemen of the village community owned a 
lord, indeed, but he was hardly better than primus 
inter pares, and had his recognised duties side by 
side with his recognised rights. To understand the 
position it is necessary to bear in mind the sparse- 
ness of the population. The county of Middlesex, 
for instance, so lately as eight hundred years ago was 
estimated to contain only 2, 289 souls. The patches of 
cultivated ground in a village in Saxon days would 
be infinitesimal in comparison with their surround- 
ing expanses of folk land. A lord might slice off 
for himself any choice portions, and yet leave for 
the community more than they could use of the 
desolate areas of waste or forest in which they had 
their rights. In later times the permission of the 
King was necessary for this sort of appropriation, 
and I find in the twelfth century a writ of Henry I. 
which refers to this parish. The King had here 
a huntsman called Crook ; it is to " Croco vena- 
tori " that he addresses his mandate, requiring him 
to permit the monks of Abingdon to break up 
certain waste land in the parish. The monks had 
a settlement here, and it would be beneficial to all 
sections of the community that they should bring 
under cultivation a part of the waste tract, which was 
practically valueless because there was a great deal 
too much of it. The people were few ; their pro- 
perty was almost illimitable. The breaking up of 
more land would represent an increase of food and 
employment for the inhabitants. So Crocus Venator 
was told to put no hindrance in the way of the 
monks, who were doubtless inspired by benevolence 
in their agricultural intentions. 


Our parish in those days, though of course co- 
terminus with several other parishes, had Httle 
communication with them. Beyond its practicable 
limits lay a lonely waste. In the centre was the 
ham, with the lord's wooden hall, the church, and 
rude hovels made of wattle and daub. Around 
this was the cultivated land and grass yards for 
rearing calves and other animals — the common 
farmstead, in fact. Then came the pastures in 
which the people had rights after the lord had 
made his hay. And outside all were the woods 
and marshes and uncultivated land, generally termed 
the waste. From this waste the public supplied 
themselves with firebote, hedgebote, and housebote, 
and also found what sustenance for their greese and 
cattle and other stock the more restricted pasture 
areas could not yield. But although sometimes 
portions of this waste were taken over and tilled, 
and came thus gradually under cultivation, this was 
not the only means by which waste land was 
reclaimed. Occasionally the portionless younger 
son of a lord would break away from his family 
and penetrate into the waste with a few followers, 
build dwellings, and cultivate the hitherto virgin 
soil, and thus a new lordship would be gradually 
formed, with powers over its adherents, and in 
time recognised suzerainty over all who dwelt 
within its boundaries. 

At the time of the Norman Conquest most of 
the twenty thousand Saxon manors were taken over 
by new lords. In some counties, as over the 
border in Hampshire, the passion of the King 
and his court for hunting caused the afforesting 


of large tracts of land which had been reclaimed 
and given over to the plough. The workers 
were driven from their fields, elbowed out of 
their lands, and compelled sometimes to find 
means of subsistence in unlawful ways. But apart 
from this local evil attendant on the change, the 
land question was but little altered. The King 
claimed seignorial sway over all the lands of 
England, but in his redistribution there was little 
outward change in the actual position of the lower 
classes as regards their common rights. This came 
gradually and imperceptibly. By degrees the waste, 
which was originally the people's waste, began to 
be designated as the lord's waste. The manorial 
system, which was defined and fixed under Norman 
lawyers, recognised with the King's suzerainty 
the landlord's all-embracing ownership. Since he 
owned the persons of his dependents, he regarded 
himself as owner also of their property. The 
legal theory assumed the landlord as deriving his 
property in the first instance by a grant from 
the Crown, he in his turn giving out of his con- 
sideration certain privileges to his tenants and 
serfs. The earlier communal ownership of land 
was ignored by those who were strong enough 
to take all that they coveted ; and so by degrees 
the people's waste became the lord's waste, and 
the heritage of the poor was grabbed by the 
rich and powerful. And thus there grew up a 
belief that the common lands were rightly diverted 
from their proper use when the lord assumed his 
ownership of them and determined to enclose and 
cultivate them ; and those commoners who pro- 



tested against his encroachments found themselves 
confronted in the year 1235 with a special Act 
drawn up for their discomfiture and disinheriting. 
This Act, the famous Statute of Merton, was in 
effect the first of nearly seventeen hundred En- 
closure Acts, which up to the year 1800 robbed the 
poor man of his property and gave it to the rich 
man. In 1801 the provisions of these many Bills 
were consolidated in Sir John Sinclair's Enclosure 
Act, under whose ample provisions the work of 
spoliation went on apace, and the next generation 
saw its completion. The people woke up to find 
themselves stript of their property. They had 
ceased to be owners of land ; the only portion 
which had ever been theirs had been stolen from 
them while they slept. 

We can still trace in our parish the last rem- 
nants of folk land, which were enclosed nearly a 
century ago. Up to that time on Lammas Day 
the heath began to be noisy with the lowing of 
cows and the quacking of geese, and gay with 
children whose right it was to play there. There 
are not many ancient institutions which I would 
gladly welcome back amongst us, but I should be 
happy indeed if I could believe that the commons 
and heaths and wastes of our rural parishes would 
ever belong again to their rightful owners. 

Au£: 10. Beds of annuals are now good ; some, 
such as petunias, at their best. These are rather 
handsome in mixed colours with a wide edging of 
white pansies, but it is a wonderful thing that people 
do not oftener grow the old-fashioned pink variety, 
which is almost a true pink, with but a little of the 


aniline tint that is commonly seen. Cosmos is 
one of the newer and disappointing annuals. If 
the flower was as good as the foliage it would be 
excellent ; but the habit is tall and straggling, the 
flowers are sparse, and frequently bad in colour, 
and the plant is unworthy of consideration in com- 
parison with many older things. An annual which 
is not yet sufficiently known is nemesia — the 
strumosa Suttoni variety, which has hardly a bad 
tint in the whole of its range. It lasts well, too, 
and where a few varieties of annuals only can be 
grown, this is indispensable. So is the gorgeous 
phacelia campanularia, which is the best and bright- 
est of all. Its colour is the true gentian blue ; it is 
the earliest to bloom of all the best annuals, and 
should consequently be sown late if wanted for 
August. I should like to grow this with a border 
of some pale mauve flower, such as the palest 
ageratum, and near at hand I should have nothing 
but a bed of white phlox Drummondi, and one of 
pansies of the faintest maize colour. Blue to be 
seen at its best should be associated with other cool 
colours. Petunias, for instance, would destroy half 
its charm if they came too near. Ageratum, on the 
contrary, if sufficiently delicate in tone, would help 
the phacelia on to the white phlox, which again 
might lead the way to warmer tints. 

Another excellent blue flower which I have 
mentioned before is the commelina celestis, rarely 
seen in gardens. I suppose this is because it is, 
strictly speaking, a tender perennial, and as such 
has been discredited by growers of hardy flowers ; 
but if treated as an annual it is all that can be 


desired. We generally sow the seed under glass, 
and transfer the seedlings later to small pots. In 
autumn, if required, the tubers may be lifted and 
stored in dry sand under the greenhouse stage, 
and may be planted out rather closely together 
in the following spring ; but I have always found 
the best results from giving it annual treatment. 
The blue of the commelina is quite as good as 
that of the phacelia, and it lasts longer in bloom. 

Beds of mixed eschscholtzias are always striking 
and fairly continuous. Care must be taken, how- 
ever, not to include. the pretty rose cardinal variety 
in a mixed bed, as it would destroy the harmony ; 
and care must be taken again to keep them away 
from all flowers of a pink or crimson shade. 

Nothing is more pleasing than good beds of 
stocks ; their sweetness makes them the most 
valuable of the tender annuals. Marigolds of 
various kinds are useful, but these differ in value, 
such a one, for instance, as the newer French 
variety, Legion of Honour, being positively harmful 
to the eye in its outrageous mingling of crimson 
and orange. Brown is the only possible combina- 
tion with the natural deep yellow of marigolds, 
and the more brown there is the greater will be 
the success of the bed. But the humble little 
tagetes is perhaps the most useful still of all the 
self oranges, and makes a handsome show when 
more flaunting things have yielded to age and 

There is something in annual asters to please 
every taste except one, and that one the only 
taste which should be considered. They should 



be abolished from the gardens of every lover of 
the beautiful. We could not in these days endure 
chrysanthemums of such stiff, unpleasing form and 
crude range of colouring ; why not carry on the 
healthy feeling of repulsion to the unsatisfactory 
aster, and get rid of it entirely until growers can 
improve it out of its present shape and tints ? 
The only tolerable ones are the single varieties. 
I cannot think why asters should be considered 
a necessity of the garden ; from the castle to the 
cottage the summer show is spoilt by them, and 
when they are displayed in mixed beds they should 
set on edge the teeth of the gardener of discern- 
ment. But the years come and go, and still they 
retain their supremacy in the garden, and better 
things are neglected for them. 

Few things are lovelier than masses of the half- 
hardy dianthus chinensis treated as an annual. 
The colours are good ; the tufts are thoroughly 
floriferous, and the bloom lasts for months together. 
Yet one seldom sees them except as isolated plants. 
They are admirable if sown in February and 
bedded out under rose bushes, as they carry on 
the colour scheme of the roses, and keep the beds 

Zinnias, if used at all, should be chosen with 
discretion, a general hotch - potch mixture being 
most displeasing. It is best to get separate packets 
of the yellows, oranges, and whites, and to mix 
them for one's self, omitting entirely all of a pink 
or magenta shade. Gardeners o-q wrong- over these 
even more often than over petunias, godetias, and 
clarkias. Most of the shades of these two last are 


quite impossible ; the deep crimsons, coral pinks, 
and white, which are the only admissible ones, are 
usually lost in a maze of lilac, magenta, and kindred 
tints, which completely cheapen the value of the 
good colours amongst them. The fact that on 
their introduction the flowers were mainly weak 
and washy, and that growers consequently became 
habituated to bad shades in them, should not make 
us lose sight of the fact that there are good ones 
now to be had, and that the bad should not be 
tolerated on any plea whether of economy or over- 

And to ensure good colours we must go to good 
dealers. For the seeds of perennials this is a 
matter of less moment than for the seeds of 
annuals. Many of the perennials have no variation 
from the type colour ; seed from a penny-packet 
man may not come up, but if it comes up it will 
probably be as good as that from an expensive 
place. Of course there are many perennials to 
which this remark would not apply, but as a general 
rule it may stand good. But with annuals it is 
not so. Cheap annuals are often bad annuals. 
They are always bad annuals when they include 
bad colours in their range. That is the reason 
why they are cheap. In ordering flower seeds a 
very good plan is to proceed as follows : — 

Divide your seeds into two lists ; in one list 
those, whether annuals or perennials, which are 
represented by only one shade, such as phacelia 
campanularia, commelina celestis, tagetes, and those 
named kinds which are sold separately, although 
their variety is not limited to one tint, such as 


eschscholtzia mandarin, antirrhinum snow queen, 
and such-like things. Get these, if you can, from 
a penny man, if economy is an object. The second 
list should contain all mixed seeds, as well as those 
named ones which the penny man does not sell. 
Order these from the best dealers. 

Sweet peas are among the most useful of flowers 
for cutting just now. We sow a row under a 
south wall in October or November, and ' from 
February to June more are drilled in for succession. 
Those sown in the autumn, however, often outlast 
the spring ones, and if the seed pods are kept 
from forming are useful well into the autumn. 
The June planting is rather flukey ; in a warm 
October you may pick large quantities, but in many 
seasons all that one can hope to get from them 
are their lovely trails of green to add to bouquets 
of other flowers. But even if one has no more 
than this from them the trouble of sowing is well 

It is a great pity that growers are trying to 
change the form of the sweet pea. The wings 
with rounded top, which are taking the place of the 
old cleft wings, may be pretty enough, and at any 
rate the change in this respect is no disadvantage. 
But the hooded shape which these wings are 
assuming through the efforts of the specialist 
growers is anything but an improvement. It can 
be seen at its very worst in the hideous object 
called Red Riding Hood, which was introduced 
five or six years ago ; and if our new varieties 
are to follow the form of Red Riding Hood, 
I shall take care to preserve a strain of the good 


old-fashioned kinds, even if they are inferior in 
size to the new. 

Au^. 18. I have cut for winter bouquets clouds 
of the delicate white gypsophila paniculata, statice 
lati/olia, eryngium Oliverianum, and planum, and 
the blue spiked balls of echinops ritro. The iris 
foetida and the physalis are not quite ready, and 
must be cut in September. A good mixed bunch 
of these, arranged with trails of small ivy, looks 
very well in a dark corner of the drawing-room 
in winter, and economises other flowers. All these 
are dried by being hung upside down in an airy 
place for a few days, after which the dead leaves 
are stripped off to make the stems tidy, and the 
branches are stowed away, to be brought out again 
when live flowers are scarce. 

The beauty of gardens at this season depends so 
much on half-hardy plants that — as I have so few 
of these — a certain bareness is apt to show itself 
about August. There is but little room in this 
garden for dahlias, cannas, gladioli, pelargoniums, 
and other tender stuff; besides which the care of 
many of these in winter would entirely prevent 
Sterculus from paying proper attention to the plants 
which bloom at that time, and would, in fact, 
occupy our small greenhouse to their exclusion. 
Some friends of mine with two or three excellent 
glass-houses never muster a bloom for their living- 
rooms at mid-winter, because the houses are given 
over entirely to bedding plants. This is utterly 
wrong in principle. There are many flowers with 
which to fill summer beds without depriving our- 
selves of the use of greenhouses for their proper 


purpose — the providing of flowers at a season when 
they are not to be had out of doors. If one can 
do everything — hardy and tender plants and green- 
house plants proper — well and good. But if the 
greenhouse room is limited let me beg amateurs 
to throw away all the tender garden stuff which 
litters its shelves. The keeping of cuttings for 
summer bedding is a costly and ugly practice which, 
in such circumstances, should be put a stop to at 
once. Begonias for bedding can be preserved 
under the stages ; dahlias will live through the 
winter in a warm cellar, cannas and gladioli may be 
hidden away in odd holes and corners. But pelar- 
croniums and heliotropes, and a dozen other subjects 
which gardeners love to keep throughout the winter, 
should be got rid of without delay unless there 
is room for them and for the winter-blooming 
flowers too, which is seldom the case in the 
amateur's greenhouse. Better a little bareness in 
August, when, at least, the borders still supply 
large quantities of flowers for cutting, than a dearth 
of bloom in December, when it is more valuable 
than at any other time. 

In looking forward to winter's needs the first 
bulbs which demand potting are the freesias. If 
these have been properly attended to since their 
last blooming, the old bulbs will be as good as any 
new ones could be. We plant the first during the 
last week of July, and those for a succession at this 
time ; about a dozen will go into a six-inch pot, and 
it is better not to plunge them, as is generally 
advisable with bulbs, for the leaf growth is so 
tender that it will hardly bear freeing from the 


material under which it may have been placed. 
They can be put in a cold frame in a shady aspect, 
or under the greenhouse stage, and should be given 
no more water than is absolutely necessary to keep 
them from drying up. If the soil has had a 
moderate amount of moisture in it when they were 
planted they will need little additional attention 
in this respect. It is through mistaken kind- 
ness in the matter of watering that most of the 
many failures to grow freesias occur ; too much 
water at a later stag-e of growth will make the 
leaves turn yellow and prevent their flowering 
well. The less freesias are forced also, the better 
they will be ; a cool temperature with protection 
from frost is all that is required to ensure good 

There is nothing more difficult among common 
flowers to grow well than the Persian cyclamen, 
and I am able to say so with decision, for I have 
never yet succeeded in having them to my liking. 
Part of the reason is that I am away in the late 
summer, when they require special attention, and 
another part is that I do not really understand 
them. Of course I can get pots of healthy leaves 
and a sprinkling of flowers, but that is what I do 
not care for. I want two hundred blossoms to 
a pot, and I can't get them. And yet my plants 
appear to be managed under suitable conditions, 
so that it is difficult to understand why my simple 
wants cannot be gratified. We re-pot them in 
August, giving them a suitable compost with a dash 
of soot in it. The plants are placed in cold frames, 
and are carefully protected from chills, while they 


are given all the air that is compatible with perfect 
safety. They are dewed over with a fine rose 
every day, and watered as often as they require 
attention, being plunged in basins of water at a 
later stage when the pots are full of roots. They 
are kept free from insect pests, and their winter 
temperature is as moderate as it ought to be, and 
the result is complete failure because it is not the 
best that can be had. As I watch Sterculus pot- 
ting them up and talking as if he expected a fine 
show a few months later, I feel a very hypocrite 
as well as a monster of incapacity, for I know that 
the results will be meagre and trivial compared 
with those obtained by my friend whose plants 
I described in April. 

But though I know they will disappoint me, still 
I am very kind to them, as well as to the other 
winter things from which I expect much more com- 
fort. All plants that are to bloom in the dark 
days require care in the bright weather of August ; 
if they are neglected now dearth will result later. 
The retaining of chrysanthemum buds is as im- 
portant as any other work, but the culture of this 
flower is such a large subject that it would be of 
litde use to attempt to give instructions for it in this 
book. There are several handbooks which tell 
everything that is necessary, and the best among 
them, so far as my experience goes, is that by Mr. 
W. Wells, of Redhill, thejwell-known raiser of these 
flowers. There are some plants which bloom best 
from terminal buds, and others which give better 
results from crown buds, and to distinguish between 
these does not come within the scope of the 


ordinary garden book. But a few general remarks 
about bud-retaining may not be amiss. 

During the month of August the gardener will 
see buds forming at the point of each shoot, and in 
the case of crown buds all the surroundino- shoots 
must be got rid of if good blossoms are ex- 
pected. But this rubbing away of superfluous 
growth must be done with care ; to attempt it 
directly the bud appears would be a process which 
would weaken the growth of the flowers ; so both 
bud and surrounding growth are allowed to make 
a certain amount of progress until the former seems 
to have a separate existence, when the unnecessary 
shoots are gradually removed — one to-day, one to- 
morrow, and so on, thus avoiding a check to the 
flower bud. We generally grow three stems to 
a plant, and three shoots to each stem ; each shoot 
develops a flower, and thus we get about nine 
blossoms to a plant. Even with cuttings struck 
in March these come a very respectable size, quite 
large enough, at any rate, to satisfy the amateur 
who is not intent on showing, for we can depend on 
their measuring from five to nine inches in diameter, 
which is as large as is required for cutting. 

The sweet peas must not be allowed to pod, or 
the bloom will come to a sudden stop presently ; 
every withered flower is picked off before it can set 
seeds, and thus blossoming is continued over a long 
season. Liliuin candidum may be transplanted if 
it needs a change, for this is the best month to do 
the work ; lilies hate root disturbance when once 
they have thrown up their foliage in autumn. 

Some gardeners are very successful with hardy 

1 54 AUGUST 

annuals sown about the end of this month and 
transplanted before the winter to beds prepared 
for them. Autumn-sown annuals such as these 
certainly blossom more strongly and profusely and 
over a longer season than those reserved for spring 
sowing, but, of course, the difficulty lies in tiding 
them safely through the frosts of December and 
January, which may destroy them utterly. I have 
never made any serious attempt at this system, 
though some of my best annuals in the mixed 
borders come from autumn-sown seed of their own 
distributing. I have also had plants of candytuft 
which have bloomed throughout a summer and 
survived the following winter, and have made 
such hard wood through old age that their stems 
resembled the rugged bark of a young maple 

Attg-. ig. I am very fond of dog stories, and 
always read with much interest those which appear 
from time to time in the Spectator. I have more 
than once sent dog stories of my own to the editor 
of that paper, but he has never had the discern- 
ment to print them. Jim was rude enough once 
to suggest that they were too good even for the 
Spectator, but they are true nevertheless. I 
have only had two really human dogs who were 
so absolutely of us that they did not even know 
that they were dogs, or, if possibly they knew, 
would not acknowledge the fact. One of these 
was a mongrel fox-terrier named Joe, and so well 
did he understand all our conversation that when 
we did not wish him to know our plans we were 
forced to speak in Spanish, for he was quite good 


at elementary French. If we spoke English the 
matter was hopeless. 


" Where are you driving to-day ? " 

" I am going to pay a call at Butterbridge." 

" Shall you take le petit chien ?" 

By saying " le petit chien" instead of "the dog" 


Jim would imagine that he was using all the neces- 
sary wiles of dissimulation. 

"No, they don't like dogs. I must leave him at 

An hour or so would go by, and our efforts to 
find Joe would become exasperating ; so in despair 
I would start to find le petit chien waiting for me a 
•mile away smiling by the roadside. He always 
smiled when he had got the better of me, but I only 
once heard him laugh aloud. On that occasion I 
had taken him to the tennis-club ground, as I often 
had done before without being reproved by the 
secretary. But the next day was to witness the 
beginning of the annual tournament, and the secre- 
tary thought it his duty to deliver himself of a 
warning concerning Joe. 

" I'm afraid you mustn't bring Joe to-morrow," 
he said — the dog listening hard the while ; "there's 
a fine of half a guinea on tournament days." 

Of course I promised that he should not appear, 
and presently when we came away I called him, 
and he followed me as far as the gate like the most 
obedient of dogs. But I saw him no more until the 
next afternoon, when, on reaching the ground, we 
were met at the gate by Joe, whose little neck was 
craned out looking for us. He had hidden all 
night in the pavilion, and the secretary had not 
had the heart in the morning to dislodge him. 

He was, generally speaking, an admirably be- 
haved little dog, but on one occasion he gave vent 
to a spirit of revenge quite human in its wickedness. 
He went with us to stay with an aunt, and one 
morning when we had promised him a walk, she, 



for some good reason, thought it best that he should 
not accompany us, and shut him up with herself in 
the drawing-room. When his rage had apparently 
abated she let him out of the room, thinking that 


all would now be right. Little did she know Joe. 
He went straight up to her bedroom, mounted a 
chair to reach the toilet table, and presently brought 
her best cap downstairs, laying it at her feet in 

His end was sad. One unhappy day he followed 


Jim when he was going for a few hours to Oxford, 
jumping into the train with him just as it was on 
the point of starting. He was lost in the High 
Street, evidently through following the wrong cab. 
He would be twenty-two years old if he were still 
alive, but I have never ceased to miss him, and 
none of my many other dogs have taken his place 
in my affections. 

Aug. JO. There are days when one wakes up 
with the mind "oppressed," as it seems, "with the 
burden of an unintelligible world." Very often this 
comes from a kind of unconscious prescience of evil, 
such as a visit from the rate-collector or some other 
uncomfortable person. To-day, for instance, I have 
been haunted by such an unaccountable woe, and 
not until evening was it explained by a call from 
the Converted Camberwell Cadger. I came upon 
him unexpectedly as I was going out into the 
garden, so there was no escaping my fate. I could 
hardly say "Not at home" to a Camberwell Cadger 
who was staring me actually in the face. Words 
cannot describe how for twelve long months I have 
dreaded this meeting. The consciousness of guilt 
has weighed me down until at times life has not 
seemed worth living while I had so pitiful a secret 
locked up in my bosom. But now that I have 
broken the silence in part to my diary, I will go on 
and reveal the whole sad story, in the hope that 
with confession peace may once more come back 
to me. 

It was just a year ago that I was bicycling back 
from a garden-party when, on our village green, I 
came upon a temperance van, from which the 



Camberwell Cadger was holding forth in im- 
passioned Cocknese. A good many rustics were 
gathered round him, and I have certainly never 
heard a more moving orator than this dirty little 
man who shouted his gospel of virtue at a spell- 


bound audience. I can't deny that some of his 
arguments went home to me too ; for instance, 
when he talked — with a leer in the tail of his eye — 
of those whose education and position should make 
them show a good example to their ignorant 
brothers and sisters ; of those whose self-indulgent 
habits would not allow them to deny themselves, to 


help weaker vessels to get to the surface — when he 
said these things with desperate intent to secure my 
help in his mission, I must say I felt rather guilty. 
He was terribly in earnest, and one of the worst of 
the village topers was hovering round his rickety 
ladder, uncertain whether to sign or not to sign. 
Well it did not seem a great hardship to give up 
my daily small allowance of wine, so in the end I 
went up those steps and signed the pledge, the 
village toper following in my footsteps. 

1 went home with a slight feeling of shame mixed 
with a certain amount of satisfaction in my virtue. 
When I broke the news to Jim he gave way to 
unusual laughter and called me names. He said 
we had been wanting in village idiots since Aunty 
Green died, but that her place was filled at last 
with the real article. I watched him drinking his 
claret with much affected gusto, and thought it very 
hateful of him that he did not offer to give up his 
glass now that I had given up mine. The Cadger 
had called it "giving up the glass," and it seemed 
to me that Jim was acting selfishly in sticking 
to his. The next day at dinner-time he told me 
that he had just seen Bill Reynolds (the converted 
toper who had signed the pledge with me) reeling 
home from the village inn. 

Things went on like this for nearly a month. I 
could not eat my meals without the modest glass of 
claret to which I had been accustomed, and when 
they were finished I was uneasy. I used to think 
of the Eton boy who complained that his cold 
chicken "got in front and hurt." Every day I 
watched Jim as he filled his glass, and every day 1 


came nearer to thinking that I was indeed qualified 
to fill the place of Aunty Green. Sometimes I 
even wept a little, but "all tears are not for sorrow." 
Then at last came the doctor, and I was restored to 
my vicious, comfortable habits by medical order. 

I must confess that to-day, when I found that 
the Camberwell Cadger was on the doorstep, and 
remembered in one vivid moment the tale of back- 
sliding which he would have to hear, I murmured 
that he would like to see Mr. Clifford, and ushered 
him quickly into Jim's study with a long face, in 
which I knew his quick eye would read pleading — 
and then I fled. Jim understood, as he always 
understands ; and ten minutes later I saw the 
Cadger depart with a jaunty step and a chinking of 
the pocket, and I knew that the cause at any rate 
was a gainer by my fall. " The gods sell all things 
at a price " ; the price in this instance was my 
priceless self-respect, the want of which impels me 
to flee to the garden's deepest recesses at the very 
name of the Camberwell Cadger. 



Sept. ^ I ^HE first work of September is the pro- 
I- X. pagating of roses from cuttings. Those 
bushes which the salesmen supply are usually 
worked on a foreign stock, which enables them 
to make a larger growth than own-root plants could 
do in a given time ; and the nuisance never abates 
of keeping an eye on the stock to prevent the 
rising of wild wood. But roses on their own 
roots, though they take a year or so longer than 
the others to make good plants, never afterwards 
give any trouble, and it is well worth while either 
to pay extra money for these or to propagate them 
for one's self There is no comparison between the 
two methods for lasting results. If a hard winter 
kills to the ground the roses struck from cuttings, 
their root growth will ensure their sending up in 
the spring fresh shoots to take their place, instead 
of the shoots of the parent brier. The rose struck 
from the cutting is naturally balanced in proper 
proportion ; its root growth keeps pace with its top 
growth. There is no great show of the latter to 
the weakening of the former, for the accession of 
strength in both is gradual and rightly balanced 
and equally progressive. The period of waiting 



for results is the period of development of the 
plant in one respect as in another, without any- 
suffering at the root to make the top showy. 

The wood chosen for striking should be that 
of the current season, and of early growth, so that 
it shall be perfectly firm without being old. The 
cuttings may range in length from four to eight 
inches, with one eye or perhaps two to show above 
the ground when planted. The land must be well 
dug and properly firmed again, and plenty of sharp 
sand should be incorporated with it. A trench 
should be made of the right depth to receive the 
cuttings, and these should be laid at a distance of 
three or four inches apart ; a second row about six 
inches from the first, and so on until all are planted. 
The following winter they may be protected by 
a covering of natural material, such as leaves, and 
the next summer they must be stopped when they 
require it, and not allowed to flower, so that in 
twelve months from the time of striking they will 
be fair plants on their own roots, and ready for 
planting, if necessary, in their permanent beds. 
They will not be full grown for two or three years 
to come, but the time of waiting will be one of 
progress, and the ultimate results will be of the 

This is the most suitable month for taking cut- 
tings of many other plants besides roses, and 
although I have not much to do in that respect, 
there is always a certain amount which requires 
attention. I have never grown the larger kinds of 
calceolaria, but the common yellow one seems to be 
a necessity as well as a perennial source of anxiety 


to many of my gardening friends. The cuttings 
taken in September or October are, as a rule, 
planted in a cold frame and left to themselves to live 
or to die according as the winter is mild or severe. 
In May those that remain are bedded out behind 
geraniums, and are shortly after seen to wither 
away, scorched by the summer sun or parched from 
lack of moisture. There is only one remedy, and 
that is shade. Calceolarias like shade, and whether 
in cold frames or in the border do better if partially 
protected from the sun, which robs their root fibres 
of that moisture which is vital to the growth of the 
tender foliage. No doubt the cuttings must be 
kept free from too much moisture during their 
winter sojourn in the frame, or they will damp off; 
but when once started into growth in the sheltered 
border they will thrive the better the cooler their 
position is. It is wise to take cuttings in the early 
weeks of September to give them time to strike 
freely and make sufficient growth to enable them 
to withstand hard weather. When this comes they 
should be covered up close under a heap of straw 
or fern or mats, being given ventilation as the 
weather permits ; and when the days get longer, 
and spring has set in, they should be well watered 
when they require it, and allowed plenty of air 
during the day. When planting time comes they 
must be moved with a ball of earth round them 
as big as a fist and planted in wet holes, the earth 
being aftetwards rammed well round the roots. If 
the moving is done by the middle of May, which 
is by no means too early in a southern garden, and 
if they are kept sheltered from sun and frost until 


they are established, the results will be all that is 
possible, taking into consideration the fact that they 
are merely calceolarias. 

The hybrid pentstemons and various other plants 
may also be treated in this way. In the case of 
pentstemons the old plants will sometimes withstand 
the winter, and make large clumps the following 
year ; but almost as often as not they die, and 
young plants must be ready to replace them. 
There are few thinsfs better in a garden than 
these pentstemons ; their colour is excellent, their 
habit admirable, and their blooming persistent. 
By removing the seed-pods as they form, a good 
show can be had from July to November. 

Petunia tries my patience more every year that 
she grows older. How old is she now ? Certainly 
not under six-and-twenty, and yet she has not 
learnt common propriety. To-day she turned up 
at luncheon-time with a young man on whom I 
had never before set eyes, she blushing up to her 
hair and he looking as hideously miserable as any 
lover could look. Of course I was delighted to 
see him, for I guessed at once who he was, and 
as Petunia seemed smitten with dumbness on her 
entrance, and delayed to introduce her friend, I 
could do no less than give him a welcome without 
her aid. I smiled my sweetest smile — as a young 
gentleman of my acquaintance with a cavernous 
mouth is fond of saying — and murmured, with a 
friendly hand outstretched — 

"How do you do? I am sure you must be 
Mr. Mumby!" 

Petunia's colour had been vivid enough before. 


but now it became of a full sunset copper hue. 
She said very stiffly, " I thought you knew my 
cousin, Mr. Jervis," and I tried to beam a second 
welcome no less hearty than the first while wrath 
was at my heart. No one but Petunia would have 
placed me in so awkward a predicament, and the 
unreasonable creature presently blamed me for the 
terrible moment instead of confessing that it had 
been of her own making. 

Petunia professes that here at last is the real 
Mr. Mum by, and has the incredible hypocrisy to 
try to persuade me that there has never really 
been any other. I do not profess to follow the 
tortuous windings of her love affairs as clearly as 
might be desired, but I do maintain that I could 
not possibly have got the name of Mumby down 
in my mental notes unless there had been some 
reason for it. However, she was not to be 
appeased to-day by my efforts at self-justification, 
although I did my best to make things pleasant 
by assuring her that Jervis was a much prettier 
name than Mumby, and that she was quite right 
to change her mind if only for this reason. She 
kissed me very coldly when she wished me good- 
bye, and said she was afraid she should not be 
able to come again for some time, which might 
have been distressing, for I am genuinely fond of 
Petunia. But there is a good deal to do in the 
garden, and the days are shortening already, so 
that possibly 'tis best so. 

How exceedingly tiresome are people who ought 
to fall in love, and will not. And how worse than 
tiresome are those who fall in love with persons 



who have not the remotest intention of falling in 
love with them. Here is an example. Magdalen 
loves Jim, who cares not for her, nor, like Rosalind, 
for any woman. Petunia loves Mr. Mumby (or 
some one of whom Mr. Mumby may stand as a 
type), who, so far as I am able to judge, has never 
bestowed a thought upon Petunia. If Jim would 
love Petunia, who is craving for affection, all 
would be well. Of course I would rather he 
loved Magdalen, but that does not seem a likely 
consummation, and as a second best I choose 
Petunia. As things stand at present, then, Mr. 
Mumby does not love Petunia, who in his default 
would quite willingly put up with the affection of 
Jim, who cares no jot for Magdalen who adores 
him. I believe there was a certain French philo- 
sopher who discovered that it takes three to make 
a pair of lovers — " lis ont bien tort qui disent qu'il 
ne faut que deux pour faire 1 'amour ; il faut au 
moins trois." I should be inclined to go further, 
and to declare that it takes four to spoil two good 
matches. And so life in its contrariety goes on. 

Magdalen comes here and looks through Jim, as 
if he was merely a rather boring feature in the 
landscape. Jim goes to the Manor, and half the 
time he is there he literally does not know whether 
Magdalen is present or not. That, at least, is the 
impression left upon me as an observer of my 
fellow-men, and so far as Jim's unconsciousness 
is concerned, I am convinced that I am not in 
error. Magdalen's attitude is, of course, a pose, 
simply because she is a woman, and posing is her 
safety. A man who has feelings to hide can take 


refuge in silence, but so cannot a woman. Silence 
is self-betrayal, and a pose is her haven of refuge. 
Jim's silence cannot be interpreted, because he has 
a taciturn habit and would be equally silent whether 
he had anything to conceal or no. Magdalen's 
silence would mean much. But even a woman's 
pose is no rampart against another woman, though 
impregnable to a man, so that in any event 
Magdalen has little chance of hiding herself from 
me. But as I am only an onlooker I do not 

The time may come when a man will understand 
a woman so well that it will not be worth her while 
to pose for him. But so long as the economic con- 
dition of woman is as it is, so long will it be detri- 
mental to her to be understood. She has more to 
gain by remaining a mystery. The day of perfect 
equality for the sexes in economic matters is as yet 
dim aeonian periods away, and perfect freedom can 
come only with perfect equality. With freedom 
truth and sincerity will display themselves without 
fear of shame or detriment. But that happy time 
will probably never arrive to woman on our planet, 
and in the meanwhile Magdalen in common with 
the rest of her sex poses. 

If only she would show Jim that she cares one 
jot about him, it might suggest to him the possi- 
bility of his caring for her. He is merely stupid, 
a fault not his own, but of his sex. 

Sept. J. Hardy bulbs are the mainstay and the 
joy of the winter gardener. They are, speaking 
generally, certain bloomers, and they are almost 
independent of favourable conditions. Even a few 


degrees of frost will leave them unharmed. All 
they ask is that their treatment shall be reasonably 
careful, and I will give as shortly as possible the 
rules I have found most convenient for potting and 
flowering these valuable things under glass. 

There are many persons of limited means — and 
many also of large means — who grudge the money 
necessary for bulbs more than they grudge any 
other garden expenditure. Bulbs are considered 
an extravagance, and a gardener who spends a 
sovereign or two on them is a wastrel in the last 
degree. This feeling must be a survival of the 
days not long departed when bulbs were a costly 
luxury. This is not so now. Many beautiful things 
can be had at a farthing apiece, or even less, and 
I have bought good flowering bulbs of the lovely 
daffodil Cynosure at exactly half that price. The 
sooner the idea is abandoned that hardy bulbs in 
the greenhouse are not for the ordinary grower the 
better. There is nothing else in cultivation so suit- 
able for the amateur in every respect, and for the 
months of January and February they are indis- 
pensable. There is nothing that can take their 
place, although there are many things that may be 
grown in addition to them. I am speaking to the 
amateur who loves his garden, but has to be careful 
in his expenditure, when I put forward regarding 
this expenditure a word of advice. Reckon up 
what yearly sum you spend or are prepared to 
spend on your flower garden, whether in plants or 
in seeds, and then let three-quarters of that sum be 
laid out in bulbs for the greenhouse. If the garden 
without is of the herbaceous order very few plants 


should be required to keep up the stock ; a few 
packets of seeds in the spring will do what is abso- 
lutely needed, and the bulbs which come out of the 
greenhouse in March will, if turned into the ground, 
form a future provision for the open-air supply. 
No others need be bought for this purpose, for in 
a few years' time the greenhouse will have yielded 
up as many as are wanted for the garden. If a 
five-pound note therefore is to be devoted to the 
supply of flowers, let two-thirds of this amount be 
spent on bulbs ; if only a guinea is available, quite 
fifteen shillings should be devoted to their purchase, 
a few pence to a packet of primula seed, and a few 
more pence to cineraria seed. I am taking it for 
granted that the garden is fairly well stocked 
already, and that the greenhouse possesses such 
necessary plants as zonal pelargoniums, cyclamens, 
chrysanthemums, calla Richardias, and other peren- 
nial things. 

The potting soil for bulbs should not be heavy. 
If any directions are wanted for proportions, the 
following is a good average rule : — Take one part 
good leaf soil, one part well-rotted manure from an 
old hot-bed, one part coarse sand, and one part turf 
mould that has been cut from a meadow at least 
a year previously. But bulbs are generous doers, 
and if only their soil is not too heavy they will be 
likely to thrive well, even if their results are not fit 
for the show table. 

Easily first among bulbs for the greenhouse come 
the white Roman hyacinths. They are not so cheap 
as they ought to be, but they are nevertheless indis- 
pensable. They can be potted in September, and 


these and all the hardy bulbs now to be mentioned 
must be plunged under a suitable covering in their 
earliest stage. I prefer peat from a heathy wood, 
sifted to get rid of the coarse pieces, but sand will 
do quite as well. Ashes should not be used, as 
they sometimes give out poisonous gases which 
spoil the bulbs. The boxes or pots may be placed 
close together in the open, and then covered with at 
least four inches of the plunging material. 

If the amateur has only a dozen Roman hyacinths 
they may be planted in three five-inch pots, and 
treated as follows : — When they have been plunged 
for five or six weeks they should be examined to 
see if they have rooted, and if the roots are getting 
fairly strong the pots may be put in a cold frame 
for two or three more weeks. Where so few are 
grown there is no object in having them too early, 
and they will be all the better for being kept out of 
the greenhouse for a little time, unless the weather 
is cold. They can be removed to the stage and 
brought on for any date that they may be wanted. 
The gardener, on the other hand, who has a 
hundred or more may plant, perhaps, thirty or 
fifty closely together in a box, moving them to 
the greenhouse when rooted, and they will bloom 
in November. The rest can be potted or boxed as 
required, and a succession thus ensured. But they 
will not consent to be kept back so long as one 
could wish, and for late January and February 
one can have the white or blue Italians, both of 
which are very beautiful, though not quite • so 
early as the Romans. At the same time as these 
hyacinths may be potted or boxed the paper white 


and the double Roman narcissi, and their treatment 
may be identical with that of the others. They 
take rather longer than the hyacinths in coming 
to their flowering time. The gardener need not 
be afraid to plant closely if economy of space is 
an object. The bulbs may touch each other, and 
will take no harm, provided that they get sufficient 
water after they are removed from the plunge. 
A sprinkling once or twice of Clay's or some other 
fertiliser when they begin to show bud will correct 
any evils which close planting may have appeared 
to threaten. 

The above-named bulbs, if potted early and 
grown on in a warm greenhouse, but not placed 
over a stove, may be relied on for bloom from 
the end of November to mid-January, after which 
date other later kinds must, for the main supply, 
take their place. The chief points to ensure 
success are a sufficiently protracted plunge in the 
open, to encourage root-growth before top-growth 
begins, an ample supply of water, and a comfortably 
warmed greenhouse. 

The next bulbs to think of are the Harris lilies, 
from which many people fail to get satisfactory 
blooms. Sometimes the bulbs refuse to start into 
life, and sometimes they rot and disappear before 
they can attain any growth worth considering. Yet 
they are by no means difficult to grow if one goes 
the right way to work with them. They should 
be potted as soon as they come, in five-inch or six- 
inch pots, and taken under cover when top-growth 
begins. If they shrivel before potting they lose 
something of their vigour. To allow for top-dressing 


in their later stages the soil should be no nearer 
than an inch to the top of the pot, and the crown 
of the bulb may be about the same distance below 
the surface of the soil, which should have plenty 
of sand in it, and if convenient some leaf mould 
also. Those bulbs which are the strongest will 
generally be the first to start, and the weaker 
ones will be later, so that, broadly speaking, their 
value for the future may be gauged by their willing- 
ness to shoot. When top-growth has begun they 
must have plenty of light, and should be kept close 
to the glass, or they will become uncomfortably 
tall. As they get to maturity they will be attacked 
by aphis, but the horror of this and other insect 
pests departed with the invention of the X-L All 
fumigator. There need not be so much as a spider 
in the greenhouse in these happy days. 

It is no use to grudge the spending of money 
over Harris lilies ; the most expensive must be 
bought, for good ones cannot be had cheap. The 
best I ever saw were grown in an amateur's green- 
house of the very smallest dimensions ; they bore 
from ten to thirteen blooms on a stem, and the 
happy grower of them had given carte blanche to 
Messrs. Protheroe and Morris to send him from 
their auction-rooms the finest bulbs that could be 
had, irrespective of price. Harris lilies will bear 
a considerable amount of forcing if required, but 
the ordinary gardener will flower them in March 
and April. 

The bulk of winter bulbs may be planted either 
in September or in October, as best suits the 
gardener. I think the wisest plan is to get them 


all in early, and keep them plunged in the open 
as long as possible. This secures sufficient root 
growth before the frosts begin, and the flowers are 
likely to come all the better for the slower growing. 
In any case these later bulbs require a much longer 
time in the dark than the earlier ones, and three 
months is hardly too long for them, though it may 
be too long for the gardener's patience. A little 
care will keep up a succession from mid-January to 
mid-March without any special difficulty. Some of 
these later bulbs are, like all the earlier, absolutely 
essential to the well-being of the flower-lover, and 
however little there may be to spend, a few of them 
must be bought as well as those I have already enu- 
merated. Afterwards I will mention others which 
give a distinct joy to existence, but which neverthe- 
less may be dispensed with if strict economy is 

A flat earthen seed-pan about a foot in diameter 
will comfortably hold twenty-five crocus bulbs, of 
which Mont Blanc or the common yellow will give 
as much satisfaction as any costlier sorts. 

Tulips for early bloom should be the scarlet Due 
Van ThoU, and for succession nothing is better 
than double Tournesol, single yellow Chrysolora, 
and the white La Reine with a pink flake. I have 
often bought these for eighteenpence the hundred, 
but there has been so much demand for them of 
late for forcing that the price has gone up. Rose 
Blanche, double white, and Yellow Rose, double 
yellow, will follow the mid- season kinds. Let not 
the bulb grower be persuaded to buy La Candeur 
in place of Rose Blanche, for the green and 


shrivelled outer petals of the older variety make it 
compare very unfavourably with its rival. 

And now an important hint with regard to tulips 
raised under glass. Everyone who grows them has 
stamped with rage to see their beautiful blossoms 
withering away while yet hidden by the leaves. 
Tulips do not like this unnatural method of grow- 
ing in greenhouses, and they turn sulky in 
consequence. But if, when taken from the plunge, 
they are placed in a subdued light under the stage 
till they begin to grow lanky, their mischievous 
habit will be thwarted, and the gardener will 

Scilla sibirica may be grown like the crocuses, 
closely planted in a seed-pan, but many more squills 
than crocuses will be required to make a good show, 
as the bulbs are smaller. These lovely little true- 
blue things continue to throw up spike after spike 
of bloom, so that, although there may be no great 
show at any one time, the pan will be decorative 
for weeks. Some bright green wood moss may 
carpet it, but the best use of these flowers will be 
indicated in a subsequent paragraph. 

I have kept to the last the list of narcissi, these 
joys of mid-winter, which please me both indoors 
and out better than any other hardy bulbs. It is 
very important to make a good selection of them. 
The polyanthus narcissus, which are the least 
charming, cannot be dispensed with any more than 
the others. Some of the finest, though not the 
best from my point of view, are Bazelman Major 
and Grand Monarque, but the former is an un- 
certain bloomer, and the latter shares with it, 



though in another way, the disadvantage of sparse 
flowering. It throws only one stem of flowers 
from each bulb, so that it is far more satisfactory 
to buy Mont Cenis, which, if a somewhat smaller 
flower, is better in habit, and three or four times as 
floriferous. Sweet-scented jonquils must not be 
over forced ; if placed in a hot place they go blind. 
Obvallaris, the Tenby daffodil, is an early kind, and 
to follow it I should choose of singles, poeticus 
ornatus, the early form of the pheasant's eye ; 
Leedsii amabilis, a lovely cream and primrose 
flower ; incomparabilis Cynosure with pale perianth 
and bright orange-stained cup. Of doubles, the 
yellow incomparabilis, or the Van Sion, and the 
delightful old Orange Phoenix, known as Eggs and 
Bacon, are the handsomest of all. 

A dozen of each of the hyacinths, narcissi, and 
tulips above mentioned, with twenty-five crocuses, 
the same number of squills, and three or four lilies, 
can be bought for a guinea, provided the buyer 
takes care to avoid the most expensive dealers. 
Thus about two hundred and fifty bulbs would 
be available as a moderate provision for winter 

But although the varieties and the numbers 
above given will suffice for the grower who cannot 
afford a little extravagance for his winter orreen- 
house, there are many other lovely things which 
must be added to the list by those who can indulge 
in a larger expenditure. 

My readers will have thought me guilty of a 
curious omission in regard to Dutch hyacinths, but 
the fact is that when the outlay is limited it is 


better to ignore these altogether. The money 
spent in buying a dozen of them would buy a 
hundred or a hundred and fifty tulips or narcissi, 
which are not only incomparably cheaper, but 
infinitely more satisfying to the properly cultivated 
eye. If, however, hyacinths are essential to the 
well-being of the amateur gardener, let me re- 
commend the purchase of what are called children's 
miniature hyacinths. The nearer the flower ap- 
proaches to the standard of perfection necessary 
to success at the show tabk, the more it must 
offend the taste of the lover of the graceful. 
These miniatures, on the contrary, though they 
may transgress every canon laid down by the 
judges, approach nearer than the others to the 
grace and charm of the Roman hyacinths ; they 
can be bought at a good deal less than half the 
price of the ordinary bulbs, though there are very 
few dealers who catalogue them. Messrs. Barr, 
however, do so, and from them they can be 
obtained at a very moderate price. 

It is difficult to go wrong with the narcissus. In 
the ordinary warm greenhouse most of them can 
be grown to perfection, as its conditions are exactly 
what suits them best. Very few of them will bear 
forcing in the strict use of the term, but fortunately 
nearly all will flourish under glass if properly 
treated. The only two that I have failed with are 
the double poeticus and the double sulphur Phoenix, 
and I think that even with these the difficulty 
could be easily overcome if they were boxed early 
and given cold-frame treatment until the buds 
appear, after they are taken from the plunge. But 


my space is so limited that I cannot afford to give 
up any of it to doubtful bloomers. 

I do not admire the shape of the Leedsii section 
so much as those which have a broader perianth, 
but there is a great charm in them all. Mrs. 
Langtry is a particularly beautiful specimen, and 
its creamy cup and perianth are striking even when 
associated with others far more showy. In the 
Barrii section Conspicuus is my favourite of the 
less expensive varieties, and in the Incomparabilis 
section there are few more beautiful than Figaro. 
There is a great family likeness between Cynosure, 
Figaro, and Conspicuus ; all have the orange- 
stained cup, but the perianth of Conspicuus is far 
more substantial and the petals are broader than 
in the cheaper ones. In point of colouring one is 
as beautiful as another. Johnstoni Queen of Spain 
is well worth growing for its graceful, uncommon 
shape and uniform soft yellow shade of colour. 
Bulbocodium or Hoop Petticoat is another un- 
common form, very quaint and pleasing, though 
not striking, on account of its diminutive size. 
Emperor, of course, is very fine in the Trumpet 
section, and Golden Spur is equally handsome. 
Among bicolours I like as well as any the one 
known as Horsefieldii. In fact, as I said before, 
it is difficult to go wrong with narcissi ; they are 
beautiful, and nearly all good doers in the hands 
of the amateur gardener. 

Of tulips, Mon Tr^sor is a good yellow for pot 
work, Dusant a fine red, Cottage Maid a pretty 
pink and white. Joost van Vondel is a good white, 
as is also Pottebakker. Tulips require very little 


drainage at the bottom of the pot, and they de- 
mand a plentiful and regular supply of water. 

Snowdrops should have cold-frame treatment, 
if weather permits, till they are at the point of 
flowering. They do not appreciate the comforts 
of a warm greenhouse. Triteleia uniflora is a 
pretty little thing for pot culture, but where space 
is limited is not striking enough to take up room 
that would be given to more showy things. The 
white allium is always useful for cutting, and does 
well in pots, as do also the muscaris. There are 
many other bulbous plants which are valuable 
for winter culture, but at the same time not so 
valuable as to be actually essential. 

And now as to the proper use of all these 
bulbous things when they come to a flowering 
stage. My fixed idea as regards flowers in general 
is that one wants them to live with ; flowers that 
are in the greenhouse when I am in the drawing- 
room are of no use to me. I want them — dozens 
of them, hundreds of them — in my living-rooms. 
All through the winter I want to cram into 
my rooms as many as they will hold, and to 
have a few besides to send away to flower-loving 
friends. The best way to have them is perhaps 
in their pots as they are grown, provided that the 
pots are well filled and that all the flowers bloom 
simultaneously. But this is rarely the case, and, 
besides, most of my bulbs are grown in rough 
boxes in large quantities. There may be a dozen 
Roman hyacinths just coming to perfection, and 
twice as many hardly showing colour. With a tiny 
prong we dig up those that are just coming to full 


expansion, taking care to bring away as much root- 
fibre as possible and not to disturb more than can 
be avoided those that are left in the box. The roots 
may be washed in lukewarm water and the bulbs 
replanted in clean sand in an ornamental pot. 
Then the pot should be filled up with water, the 
bulbs covered with clean green moss, and the result 
is perfection. If they require staking, three or 
four very thin green sticks are inserted near the 
middle of the clump, and each stem is tied back 
to its nearest stick with fine light green flax thread, 
care being taken that the sticks are not so high as 
the foliage. All the hardy bulbs which I have 
mentioned may be treated in this way. The effect 
of a large beau-pot, a foot or more in diameter, 
nearly filled with white Italian hyacinths, and then 
bordered with blue squills, is delightful, and an 
equally good effect can be had with yellow crocuses 
and white tulips, or in a dozen other different 
combinations. But the larger the bowl the more 
beautiful is the display. I have a rather shallow 
blue one, about eighteen inches across, which is 
unimaginably pretty when well planted. As the 
stems get long and drawn the sprays are picked 
for vases, and another potting-up ensues. And 
so the bulb season goes on. 

A word must be said about the care of bulbs 
when they have finished flowering, Freesias must 
be kept in the greenhouse and receive their accus- 
tomed supply of water until the foliage begins to 
turn yellow. Then the water may be gradually 
discontinued, and when the leaves are dead the 
pots should be placed close to the glass, in the 


sunniest part of the greenhouse, and there left with 
no attention whatever until potting time comes again. 
Unless they have this thorough baking the bulbs 
will not mature properly, and bloom next season 
will be sparse. 

All the other bulbs may be turned into a cold 
frame, whether in or out of their boxes, care being 
taken in the latter case that there is soil enough 
round them to prevent their starving or being 
frozen to death. An occasional watering in mild 
weather will keep them going until the spring, 
when they can be planted in the garden or the 
orchard. Many will flower the following year, and 
all the year succeeding it, and by this means a large 
stock of bulbs can be secured for outdoor blooming, 
all of which will have served their primary purpose 
first of all in the greenhouse, and made a winter 
the happier by their beauty. 

It is necessary to take up the calla Richardias, or 
arum lilies, from their summer trench in the early 
part of the month, to prevent their getting a check 
that would retard their flowering. They are kept 
close in a frame for about a week when they are 
brought in, and are transferred to the greenhouse 
before the first cold comes at the end of the month. 
The greenhouse and all the frames have been 
cleaned for the winter ; they were fumigated with a 
sulphur candle when empty, and every inch of their 
interior has been washed with soft soap, so that 
insect pests will be forced to build new houses if 
they make up their minds to return to their old 
haunts. One may hope that during the cleansing 
operations they have taken fresh lodgings and will 


not care to disturb themselves by returning to us. 
The woodlice, or " pigs," as Sterculus calls them, 
are some of our most persistent invaders. 

Besides the frames and the house, the plants also 
have to be cleaned. They are laid on their sides on 
the ground, and are syringed with a weak insecti- 
cide both under and over the leaves. The pots are 
scrubbed, and everything is subjected to a severe 
scrutiny before being set in winter quarters. A 
mat placed under the pots while the syringing is 
being done prevents the soil from splashing up 
again on to the leaves and pots. This annual 
cleanins: is well worth the trouble we take over it. 

Sept. IS- This is the best time to prepare the 
violet beds for the winter. If the plants have been 
kept watered through the hot weather they will now 
be of a good size and well set with buds. Some 
care should be taken in filling the frames, and raw 
manure must never be used if a steady supply of 
flowers is required over a long period. There will 
be plenty of bean and pea haulm, old sunflower 
stems, or other rough stuff, with which the boxes 
may be filled to the depth of a foot, and the 
material must then be well trampled down to reduce 
it in compass. A good light soil mixed with a fair 
proportion of spent manure from an old hotbed may 
fill the frame to within six inches of the top, care 
being taken again to make the bed firm. Lift the 
violets with large balls round their roots, nip off any 
runners which may have formed, and plant closely 
together in the frame. If they have been properly 
looked after in the summer, they will begin to bloom 
profusely in a fortnight's time. But one caution is 


most essential. Under no conceivable (^cum- 
stances should the lights be put on — not even at 
night — until the end of November. If the weather 
is very cold they may then be shut, or nearly shut, 
at night, but not otherwise. Violets will not do 
well late if they are coddled early in the winter ; the 
cooler their treatment is, short of being subjected to 
severe frost, the better they will thrive. About 
Christmas time some good old manure may be 
pricked in about the roots, and if the flowers have 
become small and sparse they will speedily improve. 
At mid-winter, in a long spell of sharp frost, a few 
handfuls of dead fern may be strewed among the 
plants, inside the frames, and as much protection 
may be given outside as is convenient, to protect 
from damage the dormant buds. 


Oct. " I " H E work of October is very important. 
/. X It is now that provision is made for 
winter wants — or rather, it is now that it is seen 
what provision has been made, for in some cases 
nearly a whole year's forethought is required to 
secure a pot of bloom. Many chrysanthemums, for 
instance, have been growing since last Christmas, 
and there are very few winter subjects that do not 
require six months' preliminary treatment before 
they will reward the grower with their flowers. 

My greenhouse measures fifteen feet by ten — not 
an extravagant size. It has a stage down each side 
and at one end ; a couple of shelves rather high up, 
also at the end ; a movable shelf, that in times of 
stress swings high in the roof above my head ; and 
a couple of benches, which — also when the need is 
dire — run down the centre, standing on the gravel 
which forms the floor. It is heated with an Ivanhoe 
stove, and a four-inch flow and return pipe round 
two sides and an end. The stage on one side is 
topped with a galvanised tray its whole length and 
width, and about six inches deep. This tray is 
filled with peat from a neighbouring fir wood, in 
which we can plunge cyclamens and other things 

1 86 


that dislike a drauarht circulating- about their roots. 
The peat can be kept moist as is required, which is 
a great help in the growing of some things. The 
portion of tray which is over the stove is filled with 
sand instead of peat. This is not a desirable plunge, 
but in our circumstances it is a necessary one ; for 
where there is now sand there once was peat, which 
ignited by the heat under it given out by the stove, 
to our almost irreparable undoing. 

We pack a great deal into the greenhouse. 
There are in it now fifty large chrysanthemums, 
nearly all of them in seven-inch or nine-inch pots ; 
seventy pots of zonal pelargoniums, eighteen of 
freesias, twenty of primulas, twelve of arum lilies, 
twelve of cyclamens, and a few odd things, such as a 
large pot of smilax growing up many strings for 
cutting ; another large one of the dwarf asparagus 
fern, also for cutting ; one or two winter-flowering 
cacti, a lemon verbena, and so on. 

A large four-light frame contains other plants 
— cinerarias, fancy pelargoniums for the spring, 
Christmas roses in pots, Solomon's seal, with nar- 
cissus, paper-white and double Roman, in large 
boxes, just taken from the plunge. There are also 
numerous begonias, gloxinias, achimenes, fuchsias, 
and other things which made the greenhouse gay 
in summer. 

Four more frames hold the violets, which already 
are yielding profuse bloom. There is one frame of 
the lovely Princess of Wales, whose blossoms hide 
a penny-piece ; these are now in perfect condition. 
They will be of no use at mid-winter, but will come 
on again in early spring. Two of Marie Louise 


and one of Count Brazza's white violets complete 
the tale of frames given up to these flowers. Other 
plants are growing in the open, to yield their 
blossoms later than the ones that are in shelter. 

In the next following pages I am going to give 
advice to those who have but a small quantity of 
glass, and are yet desirous of keeping up a stock of 
flowers for cutting during the winter season of the 
year. To persons who possess a considerable area 
of greenhouse accommodation I have nothing to 
say. They should never be wanting in blossoms, 
provided that proper care and a sufficient expendi- 
ture is provided. But there is a far larger class of 
amateur growers — those who have a small green- 
house, or perhaps a couple of greenhouses, and 
imagine themselves well off for flowers if they can 
muster half a dozen pots or vases for the drawing- 
room in January. To these I should like to prove 
that they are by no means getting the best that is 
possible unless they can fill their rooms as full of 
flowers in January as in August. This chapter, 
therefore, is addressed to amateur hardeners who 
have sufficient outdoor plants to provide flowers for 
cutting from March to October, and require enough 
under glass to keep them supplied from October to 

The first essential is the giving up entirely and 
unreservedly all the bedding plants with which the 
greenhouse is probably half filled. In the first 
place, the summer bedding system of gardening is 
utterly wrong in principle. Spring, summer, and 
autumn should find its own flowers growing without 
disturbance at any season of the year. There may 


be mansions — I have not seen them myself — which 
demand among their surroundings the stiff and 
monotonous decoration of bedding plants ; but the 
ordinary English house is at its best in the really 
English garden — a garden of herbaceous plants, 
and roses, and carnations, and good things which 
have been relegated for so many years to the 
kitchen domains that we feel ashamed to give them, 
as we should do, the best places in the parterre. 
It may be said that the season of bloom of carna- 
tions, for instance, is too short to allow of their 
usurping the best beds. This taste for perpetual 
bloom on a given piece of ground is a depraved 
taste, and should not be encouraged. 

To return to the greenhouse. When all the 
bedding plants have been consigned to the rubbish 
heap — with the exception of a few zonal and 
ivy-leafed pelargoniums, which will be wanted 
for next year's tubs or hanging baskets, if these 
are used — the whole of the glass-house will be 
available for its proper purpose. The next thing 
to do is to send nearly all the hard-wood plants 
the way of the bedding stuff Even many of those 
which flower in winter cannot be usefully retained 
if the best possible results as regards quantity are 
to be gained. The amateur with but a small 
greenhouse cannot have these beautiful things. 
He cannot have azaleas, because they take up 
large spaces on the stage from October to February 
which should be given to flowers that bloom within 
those months. He cannot have bouvardias for the 
same reason, for they will not do their best in 
winter in the ordinary amateur's house. Fuchsias 


are also taboo for similar considerations. From a 
different cause, but an equally potent one, such 
good winter blooms as sparmannia, cytisus, and 
other amenable plants are impossible ; they flower 
at the right time, indeed, but their habit is large, 
or, at any rate, it tends rapidly to become so, and 
they take up the room of several primulas or 
geraniums. All these things, or nearly all, must 
depart in favour of soft stuff and bulbs, which will 
keep the house gay from October to March. There 
is, in fact, to be nothing on the shelves or the stages 
except plants that will flower in winter, and — a very 
important consideration — plants that can be for 
the most part done away with directly their bloom 
is over. This is the case with primulas and 
cinerarias, which may be thrown to the rubbish 
heap when their flowers are cut ; chrysanthemums 
can be turned into frames, as may also all the hardy 
bulbs when their season is over, with cyclamens, 
callas, and half a dozen other things. With proper 
protection they will come to no harm. Freesias 
can be thrust under the stages ; pelargoniums into 
a warm attic ; most things, in short, can be got 
rid of for a time, except in an exceptionally rigorous 
winter, to leave the greenhouse free for flowering 

The conscientious reader who skims over this 
chapter with an inclination to act upon its advice 
will by this time feel very sad for his summer 
display under glass. But I do not for a moment 
intend to deny him the pleasure of greenhouse 
flowers in the summer months, though he may 
possibly be obliged to rearrange his stock of these 


things. In such a house as I have described 
many hundreds of pots of begonias, achimenes, 
and gloxinias may be laid on their sides under 
the stages in October, and brought out and started 
a few at a time from February onwards, when 
the congestion of the house is to some extent 
relieved. Petunias may then be sown with a 
dozen other subjects that thrive well in pots and 
will provide a summer show. Moreover, as in 
all probability nothing will induce him to act 
unreservedly on my advice of the immediately 
preceding pages, he will have spared some of the 
best of the fancy pelargoniums and other spring 
flowering stuff, so that there shall be no gap 
between his winter and his midsummer displays 
under glass. 

Apart from chrysanthemums, the main source 
of supply for some weeks to come will be zonal 
pelargoniums, and, a little later, primulas. Of 
course, all zonals are not suited for winter blooming, 
but there are plenty which will flower in a night 
temperature of 40° or 45°, and some of these 
should be secured. Among other good varieties 
may be mentioned Volcanic, Sunbeam, Lucrece, 
Mikado, Nicholas II., Puritan, and the old Jacoby. 
The cuttings should be struck in March, and all the 
buds should be nipped off as they form, until 
September, when they may be allowed to develop. 
When they are once staged for blooming water 
should be given only when required, and no manure 
water permitted, for if leaf growth is now en- 
couraged they will cease to give blossoms. These 
are very good for the amateur's greenhouse, as 


the young plants do not require large pots, four-inch 
or five-inch being quite big enough ; and they may 
be staged so close as to touch each other, which 
makes them economical of space. If the gardener 
does not exhibit sufficient forethought to ensure 
a provision of these flowers, and of primulas, the 
early winter season will be bare indeed. Chrysan- 
themums, beautiful as they are, are not sufficiently 
satisfying to take the place of everything else, 
and there is always a certain amount of risk 
attending the culture of hardy annuals in pots 
for autumn use. They may turn out well or they 
may fail entirely. Primulas and zonal pelargoniums 
under ordinarily careful treatment never disappoint 
the grower. 

Best of all the primulas I like the variety called 
the Star. The blossoms, though small, are thrown 
well above the foliage, and they are admirable for 
cutting, as they last in water for a fortnight. The 
blue kind oi primula sinensis, too, is indispensable, 
and a vase or pot of it always attracts notice. The 
seed of this is expensive to buy at our best seeds- 
men's, but for a few pence a packet of it can be 
purchased from some of the German growers who 
advertise in our gardening papers. As no amount 
of money will at present secure a true-blue colour, it 
is hardly worth while to pay several shillings for 
seed which is only of lavender a shade deeper than 
Germany can supply for half a dozen pence. 

In places where beds of annuals are used for a 
summer display the space will now be available for 
planting for spring. Nothing is more beautiful 
than wallflowers for this. The best, to my mind, 


are the gold and the primrose varieties ; for cutting 
there is certainly nothing more telling than these 
two in combination. The art shades, as they are 
termed — the so-called salmon and mauve and 
purplish tints — are better omitted unless there is 
plenty of room for all, but the old blood-red is 
always beautiful. Double white daisies make an 
excellent border for the gold and primrose sorts, 
and with the red no plant is prettier than the blue 
forget-me-not. There is nothing new about the 
combination, but assuredly there are few things 

Oct. II. I have been staying for a week with 
Seraphina in Devonshire, and have had a very 
pleasant time. It may be always taken for granted 
that wherever Seraphina is there will be a pleasant 
time, or Seraphina would not be there. Even her 
husband seems to enjoy life, though Jim declares 
that his contentment is probably the usual kind of 
happiness in the married state — resignation after the 
event. Jim, as I have before indicated, has no very 
exalted opinion of Seraphina, but he hates to find 
fault with her, though Heaven knows she is faulty 
enough. His desire to make the best of people is 
in continual conflict with his healthy sense of 
humour, and I have never heard him say anything 
more severe of Seraphina than that she is careful 
to keep all the commandments, one at a time. 
After all, can much more than this be said for the 
best of us ? Our virtues, as a rule, are wont to 
display themselves singly. 

I return to find all our gates painted a bright 
turquoise blue. I should think that there is no 


other place in the county which has turquoise-blue 
gates. Jim's guilty face, when he met me on the 
doorstep, betrayed his responsibility without any 
hope of disguise. It appears that a worthy youth 
in the village has lately taken to carpentering as 
a means of livelihood, and his master has palmed 
off a quantity of paint material on the guileless lad 
at a tempting price. He, being seized in his turn 
with the lust of profit-making, confided the news of 
his purchase to Jim, and begged permission to 
adorn our premises, and Jim, though he must have 
known full well how detestable it would look, 
weakly consented. The result is amazement. I 
cannot see why the boy, simply because he is a 
good boy and an industrious and dutiful boy, should 
be allowed to disfigure us so completely, but Jim, of 
course, disagrees with me. He says he thought 
that the boy probably knew best, and at any rate 
he had fully made up his mind on the subject before 
he broached it to Jim. I am certain that if he had 
wished to paint the gates orange colour, orange 
colour they would have been by this time, so 
perhaps there is something to be thankful for after 
all. At any rate, I did not feel justified in betraying 
all the wrath I felt, for Jim was obviously gloomy 
about some other matter, which I made it my busi- 
ness to discover. His tenderness for worthy and 
dutiful village boys is extended to the lower brute 
creation, and it was an interview with the village 
butcher, ten minutes before my appearance, which 
had annoyed him. He called upon Mr. Griskin to 
speak about some Parish Council business, and 
found that excellent tradesman in the act of promis- 



ing his smallest son that, if he would be a good boy 
at school throughout the winter, he should be 
allowed, as a particular treat on his next birthday, 


to — kill a lamb. Mr. Griskin made haste to enlarge 
on the topic to Jim, and furthermore told him that 
his eldest hope, who had been destined from infancy 
to inherit his grandfather's drapery business, had 
developed such a love of animals that they had 



thought it best to make a butcher of him. The 


result so far had been successful beyond his 
expectations. I tried to console Jim by telling 
him that I had once seen a similar story labelled 
as a joke in the pages of Punch, but he did not 
recover his spirits the whole evening. 

"we always looks Al'TER THE SEX " 

For my part I was so glad to get home again 
that not even turquoise gates had power to dash 
my happiness for more than a moment. Besides, 
I had met with a cheering railway porter at Bristol, 
where, after several hours of travelling, I had to 
change trains, which I always find a depressing 
incident in a journey. I was hurrying from one 


platform to another, the porter carrying my smaller 
luggage, when he looked back over his shoulder 
and said with paternal solicitude — 

" Don't you hurry, ma'am. We always looks after 
the sex ; it's the only good thing we've got left." 

I daresay there are some persons who would fail 
to understand why I began to feel happy at once, 
and was enabled almost to enjoy the remainder of 
the journey. 

I brought back with me a small nephew and niece 
on an indefinite visit, and they shock our other 
guests by their invariable greeting, " We've come 
to stay wif auntie because muvver's nearly dead." 
They are callous little creatures, and it is impossible 
to touch their hard hearts. I ventured when Basil 
was naughty this morning to say to him — 

"If you are not a good boy, Basil, I shan't love 
you any more." 

"And I'm not loving you now," was the unabashed 

He is very anxious to understand the manner of 
his first creation, and questioned me very closely. 

" Did God say ' Let there be Basil,' and there 
was Basil ? " 

Thereupon I thought it would interest him to 
hear about a great fire which I had seen when I was 
away, and was proceeding with a vivid description 
when he yawned audibly, and said — 

" Yes, thank you, auntie, but now tell us about 
hell fire." 

I did not feel competent to describe hell fire, and 
my nephew has a poor opinion of me in conse- 


Oct. 12. The new curate has called. He is a 
timid, retiring creature. If one asks him a question 
to which an affirmative reply is clearly indicated, he 
says, "Certainly — I suppose so — perhaps." It 
reminds me of the Frenchman who, when called 
upon to admire Niagara, exclaimed, " It is magnifi- 
cent ! it is stupendous ! it is pretty well ! " This 
good young man has evidently been much kept in 
order. I wonder how soon he will discover that he 
really has an opinion of his own — or if he will never 
do so. 

It must astonish and mystify a country population 
to observe the enormous differences presented by 
their ecclesiastical shepherds. There is in them no 
harmonious similarity of demeanour, such as should 
appear in brethren of one cloth. Dr. Capel, the 
late rector of a neighbouring parish, for instance, 
could not easily be reproduced, for which his parish- 
ioners certainly ought to feel thankful. If he passed 
a man who omitted to touch his hat to him, he would 
make haste to deprive him of that necessary gear. 
If the impertinent minion happened to be riding 
in his donkey-cart, Dr. Capel would incontinently 
pull him from the seat. He was, I should think, 
rather a naughty old parson. He had nine plain 
daughters of various advanced ages, and he would 
look round upon them as they sat at his board at 
dinner-time, and remark to any casual guest — 

"A doosid slow thing- is virtue." 

One can hardly be surprised that shortly after his 
death, when his successor was attending a rustic 
labourer in extremis, and was pointing a moral from 
the parable of Dives and Lazarus, the poor old soul 

CO - 



on being pressed to put his own interpretation on 
the story remarked con gusto, " Why, of course, 
gentleman went to hell." 

Oa. 77. I ought to know these people by this 


time, but there is always something new to discover 
in the rustic. He is like a half- explored land, still 
full of surprises for the explorer. I have been 
getting my poultry lately from Meshach, who is 
trying to make a few honest shillings out of his hen- 
yard in addition to a labourer's wage. I wanted a 


pair of chickens for Monday, and the weather being 
very warm I desired him to slaughter them on 
Sunday instead of on Saturday. He hesitated 
somewhat at the order, but I did not think that 
even he could regard it as a deadly sin to twist a 
couple of neck? on the Sabbath, so I did not wait 
for any reply. To-day I hear that he sat up on 
Sunday night until ten minutes past twelve with the 
fowls in a hen-coop in his kitchen, and then, Monday 
havinsf arrived, he was able to do the deed without 
sin. I recollect that about Whitsuntide, immedi- 
ately after his conversion, he was the only possessor 
of early cabbage in the village, and on a Sunday 
morning Sterculus cast longing eyes at his brother's 
cabbage-bed as he went by, and begged for a head 
for his dinner. Meshach said nothing. He took 
his great clasp knife from his pocket, opened 
it and laid it on the hedge, retired into his 
cottage, and struck up a favourite hymn on the 
concertina — 

" The devil and me, we can't agree, 
I hate him and he hates me." 

When the hymn was finished he came back to 
the cabbage-bed, and sorrowfully noted a gap in its 
symmetry, while he replaced in his trouser pocket 
the knife which lay almost where he had left it. 
Sterculus told me the story the next day, with many 
grunts of contempt for his brother's "old-fashioned 
notions," as he called it. 

Meshach's mother, with whom he lives, is a 
grumbling soul, who demands much attention. She 
was unfortunate enough to catch cold on the day 


of Queen Victoria's coronation, when there was a 
great village junketing together with a violent 
thunderstorm, and has never felt well since. That, 
at least, is her story. Sometimes, when she is in a 
grateful humour, she will give me one of her old 
books, of which she has a queer and inappropriate 
collection, acquired when she was in service sixty- 
odd years past. They are all of a serious nature, 
and Meshach loves them ; so my only means of 
keeping them both happy is to accept the volume 
pressed upon me by old Dame Werge, and to 
restore it surreptitiously on my next visit. If she 
ever discovers the fraud, she is acute enough to keep 
the discovery to herself. I could not possibly get 
any pleasure out of the volume she gave me on 
Thursday, for it has black marginal lines round 
every page, which recalls a prejudice of my child- 

When I was a young thing no one ever thought 
of giving me any present but a book, for nothing 
else would have been valued by me. My grand- 
father, however, at one time got into an unlucky 
vein in his purchasing, and brought me two or three 
extremely dull ones in succession. They were very 
dreary, very religious, and abounded in very long 
words. Moreover, they all had marginal lines round 
each page. At last another present was due. I 
tore off the wrapper with terrible misgiving, and 
burst into floods of tears. There was a veritable 
Oxford frame of black lines round every page, and 
I knew that sort of book too well. My good grand- 
father, when he learnt my prejudice, changed it for 
me promptly, and took care never to get another of 


the same kind. But the impression is as strong as 
ever, irrational as it may be. 

I used to spend many happy days with an uncle 
who was a scholar and delighted in books, but 
whose limited .clerical stipend forbade his indulging 
his tastes in this direction. He was once, however, 
within my remembrance guilty of a frightful extra- 
vagance, and this great event for him and for me 
took place when I was about twelve years old. 
The carpenter, undertaker, upholsterer, and general 
utility man of the village in which he lived was 
possessed, in the way of business, of a large quantity 
of waste paper, mostly in the form of books, and 
my uncle, yielding to a guilty and long-combated 
desire, bought a hundredweight of this book stuff 
for the sum of one sovereign. Stealthily was it 
carted across the road in a wheelbarrow to his study 
window, to be guiltily handed in to him at dead of 
night ; but the tale of its discovery and of my aunt's 
righteous anger may not be told here. Suffice it to 
say that the purchase was a joy to him and to me 
for years. I had my choice of what I would, and I 
still cherish an eighteenth - century copy of The 
Compleat Angler, thumbed in my childhood by me 
as much as by any of its former owners. But the 
greatest joy of all was an old metrical translation of 
Euripides, which I have long since lost. Many of 
my childish days were made happy by it, and I 
would give a good deal to possess it now. I 
wonder if I should find in it the same magical 
charm that I found then. I trow not. It was only 
a translation, and although the best, as Goethe says, 
can always be translated, even the best must seem 


to lack something when the critical faculty is alert, 
unless the translator's mental gifts are on a par with 
those of the orig-inal writer. 

But there was one book which I loved more 
dearly than any that it has been my lot to touch 
or to read since. It was called The Sorrows of 
Christine, and I wrote it myself. 

What was it all about, my first book ? Beautiful 
to outward view I can well remember it, for it was 
bound in white cardboard, and edged and tied with 
red ribbons. The binding, in fact, gave me as 
much labour and anxiety as the written matter 
within, and this is saying a great deal, for the 
whole thing was a work of no mean size. The plot 
of the story has long been forgotten even by its 
writer, but I can recollect that the scenery was 
made in Germany, and that the hero and heroine 
were named Gustav and Christine. Why I chose 
Germany as the fatherland of my firstborn I cannot, 
after all this lapse of time, recall, for I had never 
been in that country, and knew scarce a word of 
the language. However, such details are as naught 
to the youthful novelist, and I do not doubt that I 
ignored triumphantly all the exigencies of manners 
and of tongue and of local colour alike with a lofty 
scorn, which — alas for middle age's disabilities ! — 
would not come to my aid in these later days to 
help me over such difficulties, charmed I never so 
wisely. But I was in my early teens and in short 
petticoats when I wrote my first book, and youth is 
known to be infallible. 

The gaudy volume was handed about in the 
family as a work of youthful genius, and I was not 


a little proud of its immediate success. It was 
beautifully written in a fair round hand, and no one 
could complain that it was, in one sense at least, 
hard reading. Eventually it was lent to a more 
distant relative whose opinion on most subjects was 
considered final. It was a great blow to me when 
this relative returned my beloved book without 
praise even of the mildest order, advising me to 
write about children, and about English children, 
and to refrain from attempting German love 
stories until I should know a little more of my 
subject. I could never again endure even to think 
of the sorrows of Gustav and Christine, for my 
self-confidence was easily shaken ; the book was 
cared for by my sisters for a while, and finally dis- 
appeared, no one remembers how. I have a dim 
suspicion that I burnt it ; a book of which people 
could speak so slightingly was better dead and for- 

My next story was a much shorter one. It dealt, 
I remember, with exciting adventures on the ice- 
floe, and the dramatis persona were Norwegian, 
as was also the floe. The characters — if characters 
they can be called who were utterly destitute of 
character — suffered a great deal from the cold. As 
with my first book a knowledge of German and 
Germany had seemed unnecessary, so with my 
second an acquaintance with Norway and the 
Norwegian language was quite as unimportant 
a matter. I can recall, though, that in one place, 
at any rate, I tried to infuse a little local colour into 
my descriptive narrative ; I have a distinct memory 
of a sentence which bears out this assertion — 


"Men were so cold they forgot to sing GamU 

I believe Gamld Norg^ is the National Anthem 
of Norway, and I am glad to convince myself that 
in the matter of couleur locale my second story was 
a distinct advance on my first. I suppose I must 
have burnt this manuscript as well as the other ; at 
any rate, it does not survive. 

My third effort was of the short story order. 
I was about sixteen when I wrote it, and sent it in 
trembling hope to Dr. George Macdonald, who at 
that time edited a magazine which made the chief 
brightness of my childish life — Good Words for the 
Young. I was not kept long in suspense. My 
manuscript was returned to me with a kind, firm 
note from the editor, who, in unhesitatingly reject- 
ing me and my young effort, advised me to put 
aside the pen and devote myself to study. I have 
a distinct recollection of burning this letter the very 
hour I received it — and with the letter the luckless 
story — for fear my family should come to know 
of my shame. From that day to this the fact has 
been locked a secret in my own bosom, and I now 
for the first time reveal it under press of the 
exigencies of truth in telling this history. 

Oct. ji. Failure if a bitter is often a salutary 
experience. In gardening it is the necessary fore- 
runner of success, since all one's best results ensue 
from previous failure. Now that the summer is 
over, it is well to consider one's failures and the 
reason of them, and to balance them against the 
successes ; so I shall jot down a few things which 
have baffled me, not necessarily of late, but in 


these seven years that have elapsed since I first 
took my garden in hand. It would be quite easy 
to make a respectable list of plants that never go 
wrong, of which I might take as a type the orange 
pot-marigold, called calendula officinalis, or the 
common Michaelmas daisy, which hold their own 
with the rankest weeds. But the question the 
earnest gardener should ask is not "What can I 
grow ? " but " Why have I failed to grow such-and- 
such things ? " If we decline on the lowest plane 
of floriculture we shall have no difficulty in getting 
flowers, but whether these will be worth growing 
or not is quite a different matter. 

The answer to the question which I have 
indicated is not always easy to find. Frequently, 
of course, the difficulty lies in the nature of the 
soil, or in the position of the border. But these 
disabilities more often than not cannot be avoided. 
Another and a more likely reason may be the 
grower's ignorance of the necessities of the plant. 
For instance, it would be foolish to try to grow 
annual sunflowers in a four-inch pot on a window- 
sill in Bayswater, and no one who knew what the 
sunflower likes and dislikes would attempt such 
a thing. The difificulty of getting fine blossoms 
would be insuperable. But there are difficulties 
which are not insuperable, and a few of these may 
be worth consideringf. 

The gardener, like the meteorologist, must be 
always looking ahead. To think of the future 
is a necessary preliminary to success ; to forget 
it is to court failure. Every gardener should take 
as a motto the word " Prepare.'' Prepare for the 


next season, for the future, for next year, or even 
for two years hence. To neglect this foresight 
may entail a long chain of failures which no amount 
of subsequent energy will be able to turn to 

Pansies, in a southern county at any rate, are 
generally a failure, and the chief cause is the want 
of partial shade and moisture. To grow pansies to 
perfection the seed must be sown in boxes in May, 
each seed being dropped at a distance of an inch or 
so from its neighbour. This sounds a wearisome 
occupation, but it is not so trying as it would 
appear, and the number of boxes needed is a much 
more serious matter if a goodly collection of seed- 
lings is desired. They should be pricked out into 
a half-shady bed as soon as they are fit to handle, 
and transferred to permanent quarters in September. 
The best position is one sheltered from the midday 
sun, so that their succulent shoots may not be 
exposed to the worst heats of summer. A good 
watering at night with tepid rain water will help to 
extend their flowering season, and an essential to 
this end is to pick off the blossoms as they fade. 
Nothing in animal nature is expected to perform all 
the functions of life at one time, and it is unreason- 
able to expect flowers to bloom, to set seed, and to 
push out new growth together. While they are 
ripening seed they cannot properly be expected to 
do anything else. 

Coreopsis grandiflora is a valuable herbaceous 
plant which generally disappears after a year or 
two. We learn in books that it is a perennial, but 
experience is at variance with the writers of books 


in this regard. One or two of them have said that 
the plant renews itself when in autumn it exhibits 
side shoots which have not flowered in the summer 
previous. This may be true, though not invariably, 
and I do not know how the plants are to be treated 
to make true perennials of them, if indeed this may 
be done. But in borders that are not dug over — 
and no properly established border should ever be 
so rudely treated — the seeds will sow themselves 
from year to year, so that in a few summers, 
instead of the single parent plant, there will be 
a colony of seedlings extending themselves yearly 
until they become a mighty nation, unless anything 
happens to stamp them out. Another sort of 
coreopsis, that called lanceolata, is a real perennial, 
and does not require the attention demanded by the 
larger and earlier variety. 

I cannot quite understand why mignonette is such 
a fickle plant. I sow ounces of seed in all direc- 
tions, but often enough none comes up. I fancy 
the chief reason is that the cold winds and late 
frosts of May kill the germinating property at its 
birth. The best plan is to make a series of sow- 
ings, when some will probably do well. It does 
not matter if the seeds come up sparsely, for one 
plant will cover a large area if the conditions are 
suitable. In fact, if the seeds come up plentifully, 
a severe thinning will be necessary to ensure the 
best results. 

Why do most of my columbines turn into old 
women's bonnets ? I cannot say, but it certainly is 
the nature of the plant to revert to the primitive 
type. Some of the best seedlings after a summer's 


flowering disappear, and in their place I see plants 
whose flowers, instead of being pale mauve or clear 
yellow, are of a dusky purple. No herb can sur- 
pass this one for perpetuating its kind. To exter- 
minate it requires much patience, for it seeds itself 
in every nook and cranny, and throws a long tap 
root down into the depths which clings so fast that 
a prong will hardly dislodge it. 

A family that hates root disturbance is that of 
the hellebores, or Christmas and Lenten roses. 
Seldom it is that these beautiful winter flowers are 
seen growing to perfection. To get them well 
established is the first necessity, and to give them 
relief from summer sun and drought is the second. 
It is not good to move these clumps at all, but if for 
any reason moving must be done, then moving and 
dividing may be accomplished together in the 
height of summer when the plants are in full 
vigour. A fresh growth will heal the wounds of 
separation if it is done at that time. A glass frame 
will be wanted in winter if the flowers are to be 
protected from the frost and rain that would dis- 
colour them. The frame will help also to lengthen 
the flower stalks, and thus make them more useful 
for cutting. 

Nothing is easier to grow well in our borders than 
the Spanish iris, and by all the rules of common 
sense they should flourish as well in the long grass 
of the wild garden as elsewhere. Garden manuals 
assert that they delight in a dry, light soil, and 
practical gardeners who write to the horticultural 
journals are fond of affirming that they also enjoy 
the company of long grass. I have not found it so. 


I raised a goodly number from seed, and bought 
many more, and planted them all over a corner of 
the orchard. The first summer I had a fair number 
of flowers, the second none, and it is certain that 
this bareness was not due to any destruction of the 
leaves by the scythe, for the grass was not mown 
until August. 


Nov. T HAVE been placed in an awkward pre- 
O- J. dicament, and have overheard an offer 
of marriage, or what practically amounts to it. But 
there is a story attached which involves a retro- 

Three months ago there died in our village a 
blacksmith named Bill Werge, the brother of Ster- 
culus and of Meshach. He was just over middle 
age, and had not married, and as he was a saving 
man he had amassed a little fortune, as village for- 
tunes go. At any rate, he owned his forge and the 
cottage he lived in, as well as the one occupied by 
his mother, and another that adjoined it under the 
same roof He left the forge to Sterculus, who 
promptly sold it and put the money out at interest, 
being more enterprising than other villagers who 
have not travelled so far as Northumberland. The 
cottage occupied by his mother he bequeathed to 
her, and the one next door to Meshach. Meshach 
had always been his favourite, and he left him a 
parting message as well. 

" Tell him he'll have the cottage that's let to Mrs. 
Bidstraw wi' the apple tree a-hangin' over it. Tell 


him there's a treasure there all for him — to seek for 
— to work for " And then he died. 

I know the whole story, for Nancy Bidstraw told 
it to me. 

Meshach could not enter upon his inheritance 
because the cottage was let to Mrs. Bidstraw on a 
yearly tenancy. But he hankered after the treasure 
and felt sure that he knew the spot where it was 
buried. Everyone who has a treasure to hide 
buries it under a tree. The apple tree was the only 
tree in the garden worthy of the name, and beneath 
it the treasure was buried. Meshach could not get 
possession of the property, but he could look at the 
place where his treasure lay. 

He strode across the fence one evening and 
knocked at Mrs. Bidstraw's door. It was opened 
by Nancy. 

"Good evening, Meshach," said Nancy. 

Stupid Meshach did not detect the light that 
came into her dark eyes when she saw him standing 
on the door-sill, nor the faint blush which mounted 
into her olive cheek. He was thinking only of his 
inheritance, and not at all of Nancy. He had never 
thought of Nancy, though they had lived next door 
to each other all their lives. 

" Do you want to turn us out, Meshach ? " she 
asked in pleading tones. 

" No," said Meshach. 

"Do you want to see mother? She's gone to 

"No, I don't know as I do." 

" Is it me you want to see, then ? " asked Nancy, 



" Not partic'lar," answered he. 
" Then what do you want ? " she cried, losing her 
patience and flushing with indignation. 


" I want to dig a bit under the apple tree to- 
morrer with Mrs. Bidstraw's leave." 

" To find the treasure ? " asked Nancy mis- 


"Ah!" assented Meshach. 

"What makes you think there's a treasure there ?" 

"Bill said there was. He said I was to dig under 
the apple tree until I come to buried treasure." 

" Come out to the apple tree," said Nancy. 

They went out of the cottage and stood in the 
little patch of garden at the back on which the old 
apple tree grew. At the side of the house was a 
well-tended flower garden, and behind was a plot 
stocked with vegetables. Under the apple tree was 
a carpet of green turf 

" It's such a pity to dig this up," said Nancy. 

" I must if I be to find the treasure." 

" Maybe your brother didn't mean that the trea- 
sure was a buried one." 

" What else could he ha' meant ? " 

" Oh, I don't know," replied Nancy carelessly. 
" Where do you think you'll find it ? Here ? " 

She was standing close to the tree, and as I 
know Nancy Bidstraw very well indeed, I can 
picture the wicked way in which her dark eyes 
met his. 

" I dunno." 

" Or here } " moving to the wall of the house. 
" Do you think 'tis here ? " 

" I dunno," said Meshach again. 

" Or here ? " going to the garden hedge. 

" I dunno," repeated the young man stupidly. 

" No, I don't think you do know," cried Nancy, 
with irritation; "an' what's more I don't believe you 
ever wt// know. Bill knew, but he couldn't get it." 

" Couldn't get it ! Not his own treasure ? " cried 
Meshach in open-mouthed amazement. 


" No, he couldn't get it." 

"Why not?" 

" Because I wouldn't let him." 

" But how could you hinder him ? The garden 
was hisn, an' the house too. How could you hinder 
him ? " 

" Never mind how. I did hinder him, anyway. 
Would you turn us out, Meshach, if I was to hinder 
you gettin' the treasure you're wantin' ? " 

"Yes, I would!" said Meshach firmly. 

" I haven't no patience with you — you be so 
silly ! " cried Nancy. And she turned away in a 
rage and ran into the cottage, leaving Meshach 
to wonder what ailed the maid that she should get 
so red. 

He brought spade and pick the next morning, 
and began by removing the turf. The patch seemed 
as though it had never been tilled ; great stones 
came up with the earth, and the ground was as hard 
as iron under his tools. 

He dug for the whole of that day. He dug deep 
and he dug wide. His pick struck the foundations 
of the house on the hither side of the patch, and 
still he found nothing. Nancy came out when he 
was putting his tools together and laughed at him. 

"Well, Mr. Moonraker," she said — for Meshach 
was a Wiltshireman by birth—" have you found the 
treasure yet ? " 

" No, but I'll find it to-morrow," said Meshach 

" Maybe!" replied Nancy. 

The next day he dug through the gravel path 
well up into the garden, and close to the sty which 


sheltered Mrs. Bidstraw's fat bacon-pig ; and in the 

evening Nancy jeered at him again. 

"Well, Mr. Moonraker, have you found the 

treasure ? " 

" No," said Meshach. 

" Would you like me to help you ? " 

" Yes, I would — if you can, 'wevver." 

" If I can ! I could help you a deal more'n you 


know, but I'm not sure you deserve to be helped. 
You ought to be man enough to do wi'out help." 

" I've worked hard enough to-day for two men," 
said Meshach, wiping his brow with irritation. 

"Too hard. It isn't diggin' that's wanted for 
findin' treasure in these days ; it's sense an' insight, 
an' the power of knowin' what's good when you 
see it." 

" You talk as if you knowed where the treasure 
is," said young Meshach sulkily. 

" Maybe I do." 

He caught her by the hand. I was in the kitchen 




and saw it, and so did Mrs. Werge. And Nancy 
knew that we could see it, for the garden is com- 
manded by the kitchen window, and she had left us 
but a few minutes before. 

" Tell me, Nancy," said Meshach ; " tell me, an' 
I'll give you " 

" What'll you give me ? " 

"What'd you like best?" 

" Oh, something golden — a gold locket, or maybe 
a gold ring." 

"I'll give you a gold locket an' a gold ring 


too if you'll tell me where the treasure is," pleaded 

" I don't believe you'll ever give me a gold 
locket an' a gold ring unless I tell you where it is, 
you great silly. You great big, blind, stupid old 
silly ! " 

Two naughty girls came by, and giggled over 
the garden hedge. They nudged each other in the 
side and exploded in fits of laughter, while young 
Meshach glowered at them from the naked roots of 


the apple tree. But they stood still and laughed 

" Look at Meshach Werge an' his treasure !" they 

"Where?" cried Meshach. But the girls had 
passed and Nancy was blushing. 

" What do they mean, Nancy ? " 

" How can I tell you, Meshach ? " 

" Ain't there a treasure after all ? " 

"Not if you think there ain't." 

" But be there, do you think.-*" 

" I think maybe you might come to think 
there is." 

" But where, then ?" 

Nancy went up to the wall of the house and 
stood beside it, and tapped the earth with her foot. 

" I think it might be just here," she said. 

" But I've looked just there." 

" An' there ain't no treasure ? " 

" Nary," replied Meshach mournfully. 

Nancy went close up to the apple tree and stood 
beneath it. 

" I think you might find it just here." 

" But I've looked just there. I've dug it all up. 
I don't believe there isn't no treasure. Is there, 
Nancy ? " 

" Not if you think there isn't, Meshach." 

" He said it was under the apple tree." 

" Well ? " 

" An' there's nothin' under the apple tree." 

" Nothin', Meshach, except — me." 

Meshach looked stupidly at her for the space 
of a minute, and then a great light overspread his 


honest countenance. He caught naughty Nancy 
in his arms. 

" My pretty dear ! " he cried. 

" I never did hold wi' young married folks a-livin' 
wi' older persons," said Mrs. Werge insistently to 
a hearer whom she thought, I am sure, exceedingly 
dull of comprehension. " An' if they likes to take 
that cottage at the bottom o' the hill I shan't put 
naught in their way. But I wun't turn out o' 
thissen, not fer no Meshachs as ever was, an' they's 
best not try at it." 

For her there was no beautiful idyll, but only 
a foresight of future personal discomfort. 

Nov. 14. There are plenty of flowers still 
blooming out of doors. One of the most useful 
is the Margaret carnation, cut from plants carefully 
disbudded in late summer to ensure an autumn 
harvest. Plumbago larpentce, with its lovely blue 
colouring, is useful for cutting, though it must be 
grown in some quantity if more than a handful 
of sprays is required. There are also coreopsis 
grandijlora and lanceolata, phlox drjimmondi, pent- 
stemon barbatus, var. Torreyi, antirrhinum, and a 
score of other things in small quantity. For 
although dahlias have been cut down by the frost 
these hardier things are left. Under glass also 
there is no lack of blossom, though in less variety. 
Chrysanthemums are beginning to make a grand 
show. Charles Davis and Viviand Morel are at 
their best, and to my mind these are two of the 
most satisfactory varieties for the amateur. With 


ordinary attention they make handsome flowers 
as well as good ornamental plants, and they never 
seem subject to the chances and changes which 
affect newer kinds. Madame Carnot is another 
excellent one. It never, to be sure, does its best 
except in the hands of the expert, but its second 
best is so consoling that no one need fear to grow 
it. Other good sorts are G. J. Warren and Mrs. 
Mease, sports from Madame Carnot; R. H. Pear- 
son, Phoebus, Golden Gate, and a kind little known 
called Silver Cloud. It is not a monster bloom, 
and has consequently dropped out of most of the 
catalogues, but it should be grown for its warm 
coppery cream colour, which is like no other that 
I know. Another good variety, though hardly up 
to exhibition form, is Monsieur Gruyer, which is 
invaluable for late cutting. Plants of it kept out 
in the open all through the autumn until the flowers 
show colour, and then sheltered in a cold shed 
at night only, will last on until nearly the end of 
January. The stiff, firm petals make it an excellent 
variety for keeping back, and I know none more 
satisfactory for this purpose. 

I do not care to grow the big plate-like blossoms 
which many growers aim at. My object is to have 
flowers for cutting, and although we disbud freely, 
we are never left with fewer than nine blooms on a 
plant. Large flowers are suitable for shows, but 
for no other purpose ; and the amateur who is 
content with a diameter of six or seven inches 
is wise. 

Violets are very plentiful just now, especially the 
beautiful Princess of Wales and the double Marie 


Louise. Christmas roses — also in frames — are 
doing well. Primulas, zonal pelargoniums, fibrous- 
rooted begonias, Roman hyacinths, and paper-white 
and double Roman narcissi are among the flowering 
plants under glass. Everything looks healthy, and 
there is a great promise of blossom for days even 
darker than November. 

" The blackest month of all the year 
Is the month of Janniveer," 

and for " Janniveer " I time my best show, that 
it may cheer us in the gloomy season when winter 
holds us tight in his grip, and spring seems a 
happiness very far off. 

November is the favourite month of Sterculus. 
He calls it not November, but "dungin' time," and 
counts all his garden operations from it, as well as 
his domestic episodes. " I lost my Cousin Jemps 
a twelvemonth ago last dungin' time," he will tell 
you, or, "I alius begins to strike my gerzanthums 
d'reckly after dungin' time." " Loffly stuff!" he 
says meditatively, looking at some special mixture, 
"it's a pleasure to get your 'ands into it." It is 
a pleasure, however, that he is forced to enjoy all 
by himself, as I cannot raise much enthusiasm over 
that part of the gardening work. 

November is not the most busy of months in the 
garden, but I do not know any month in which the 
gardener can with impunity be idle. This is the 
best time to sow sweet peas for next summer's 
enjoyment, and the only drawback to the practice 
is the habit of mice to eat the seeds or ever they 
germinate. But mice are the garden pests which 
are the most easily circumvented. We soak the 


peas for an hour or more in paraffin, and while they 
are moist roll them generously in red lead and plant 
at once. I have never lost seed so treated, and the 
trouble is hardly worth taking into account. 

Roses must be planted now, and so must briers, 
if budding is to be done next July. I find the very 
best autumn rose is Ulrich Brunner. About the 
end of September the bed planted with these began 
to show flower as plentifully as if the month had 
been June, and it has been bristling with bloom 
ever since. We cut the buds in a half-expanded 
state, as rough winds would spoil the full-blown 
blossoms. There are many roses which flower 
in the autumn, but there are few that produce 
decent specimens at this time. La France, for 
instance, still goes freely on, but the delicate petals 
are ruined by the wind and by morning frosts, so 
that very few are fit to gather. 

Spiraeas for forcing are being potted and placed 
in a cold frame, with a covering of fibre over the 
crowns. Backward primulas are being shifted into 
their flowering pots. Begonias are laid on their 
sides in the pots in which they bloomed, under 
the greenhouse stage. Dahlias and tender gladioli, 
which have been left out so long in consequence 
of the autumn's mildness, are being stored in a 
cellar for the winter. The last of the wallflowers 
are to be planted to-day, and I am also making 
large patches of crocuses under two big elm trees 
at the edge of the wild garden. Anemone fulgens 
is also to be put out in borders. This is an annual 
operation with us, and the disappointment is as 
regular, for I cannot get them to do well. 


My great difficulty in November is to prevail 
upon Sterculus to keep the fire in the greenhouse 
low enough. His aim and ideal in life is to force 
things on, mine to keep things back at this season, 
for we shall want them more later. Moreover, 
plants get badly drawn if they have too much 
warmth just now, and then their appearance suffers. 
All that is necessary is to keep out the damp by 
day and the frost by night, and a large fire is not 
needed at present to these ends. In the frames, 
too, plenty of air is required, and there is no day 
at this season when the inclement elements must 
be entirely excluded. An inch or two of air will 
not hurt any of the plants by day, though care 
must be taken that all is made safe and snug by 

I am thankful to say that my nephew and niece 
left me to-day, and I am able to breathe freely 
again. The children of the present day seem to 
enshrine incredible hardness under covering as 
beautiful as an angel's. The modern child is 
pleasing only as a study, because he is in process 
of formation by a new system which keeps its good 
results for the very end of the operation. I am 
bound to admit that these results are a great deal 
more desirable, say, at the age of eighteen or 
twenty than those which at a similar age were 
visible in young people of the preceding genera- 
tion. The timid, clinging type of girl, the shy, 
rude type of lad have given place to others whose 
distinguishing characteristic is independence and 
self-reliance. I have not the slightest doubt that 
Basil and Edith will be charming young people 


in a few years' time, but the interval may have its 
drawbacks for their relatives. 

They are very outspoken and truthful, like most 
children of the moment, and not at all greedy. 
Here is a specimen of the conversation which took 
place at luncheon the day after their arrival : — 

" Aren't you hungry, Basil ? Why don't you eat 
your ham ? " 

" I don't want it, thank you." 
" Don't you like ham ? " 
" I like nice ham, thank you." 
" Will you have some pudding, Edith ? " 
" No, thank you. Uncle Jim. I never eat 

"Indeed! Why not?" 

" Because I don't want to be as fat as auntie." 
" Won't you finish your chicken, Basil ? " 
" No, thank you ; I've had half enough already, 
and I want to keep the other half for the apple 

All this with perfect propriety of demeanour and 
without the slightest intention of rudeness. They 
have no reticences, but speak out their thoughts as 
a matter of course. Their mother never allows 
them to be reproved, no matter what they may say or 
do. She tells me that it is not the custom nowadays. 
To admonish a child for rudeness or for disobedi- 
ence might cure a bad habit, but would for ever 
destroy the confidence which exists between child 
and parent. Perfect naturalness and complete 
confidence are the two desirable qualities to 
encourage in children, and nothing must be done 
to stifle them. When I was a child I was subject 


to periodical "squashings," to cure some trick of 
vanity, or of temper, or of idleness. Children 
brought up on modern methods are never squashed. 
They learn their faults through observing them in 
other people ; they cure, or perhaps only conceal them 
of their own initiative, because these faults make 
their possessors ridiculous, or tiresome, or despic- 
able. The moral education of children is thus 
practically left to themselves, and self-government, 
instead of beginning at the age of eighteen or so, 
frequently ends there. The results, at the moment 
when the girl breaks into womanhood or the boy 
develops into the man, are beautiful to the outward 
eye, but the process, as I have said, is irritating to 
the mere observer. 

Basil writes what he chooses to call poetry, and 
this morning, before he went away, he gave me as 
a parting gift his latest verses, written in capitals on 
the fly-leaf of Ibsen's DoU's-house, in which, I 
presume, the children had hoped to find a story to 
their liking. But so well am I learning my lesson 
that I did not scold him for defacing the volume, for 
fear of destroying the small amount of confidence 
which exists between us. 

"To Auntie from Basil. 

" Writ in after the Meat of Hownds. 

" Just as the fox 

Out of the wood, 

Not in a box, 

Wishes he could. 

" Though he gets chasd 
Till he gets hot, 
Dosnt make haste, 
Therfore gets got.'' 


" Writen on Sunday. 

" Good peeple always go to church, 
Good peepul never nead the birch, 
But leave the wicked in the lerch. 


These verses inscribed on my Doll's-house 
recall an incident of its purchase. I asked Petunia 
to order it for me from our local bookseller, who is 
an entirely omniscient person where books are 
concerned, or at any rate so he thinks. I have 
never yet known him acknowledge ignorance of 
any book or its author. Petunia walked into his 
shop and demanded a copy of Ibsen's Doll's-house. 
Mr. Moulton knew the book well, but did not stock 
it. " I suppose you can get it," said Petunia. "I 
will get it with pleasure," said Mr. Moulton. " It is 
in the Juvenile Series, as of course you know." 

Nov. 15. Petunia is one of those persons who go 
in for periodical hobbies. She talks of " taking up " 
this or the other, an expression quite detestable, 
because it seems to forebode laying it down again 
when the inevitable day of boredom comes. But one 
of Petunia's hobbies has been pursued for so many 
years that I have hopes that she will be for ever 
faithful to so old a love. She is a field naturalist, 
and I would rather go for a walk with her than with 
any other person I know. Her eyes are every- 
where ; nothing escapes them ; and I can learn 
more from her in half an hour by a roadside than 
from a dozen of the best printed authorities in any 
period of time which it may take to peruse them. 
So, to-day, when she turned up at luncheon-time 
and informed me that she intended to spend the 


afternoon in Sole Wood, I was delighted to go 
with her. 

Living within a few minutes' walk of Sole, not to 
go there at least once a week is a positive sin of 
omission. It is a beautiful place. The short herbage 
where it remains is a wonderful ochreous tint, as 
though laid on with opaque colour. Large warm 
brown patches of fir needles carry on the tone 
scheme, and the zigzag paths trodden for short cuts 
by farm labourers passing through are of the same 
brown. Most of the trees are Scotch firs, but there 
are large spaces filled up with the pale yellow of 
larches, shading back to a delicate green which 
blends them into the firs. Beeches and hornbeams 
also are a glorious colour, and the acres of six-foot 
fern that reach far away over the hilly ground, and 
retire from other parts in favour of heather and 
the yellow grass, give softness to the wood. Such 
an uneven piece of ground it is, sweeping down to 
a hollow in which a small rush-fringed pond 
reflects the sky's blue, and lends itself to endless 
imaginings of extent until you come close to it and 
realise its narrow limits. The overflow runs away 
down the hill, still hiding itself in the midst of 
woods, and tradition has it that a communication 
exists between this pond and the river in the valley 
a mile away. To prove the matter, local tradition 
continues the tale by telling of a duck which, many 
years since, was thrust under the water at the point 
where the subterranean passage was supposed to 
have its beginning, and was subsequently found 
swimming gaily on the distant river. The evidence 
has never been considered inadequate, and the point 


is reckoned as having been triumphantly proved. 
But there is endless scope for tradition at Sole, 
which is possibly the old Syntri Weg, or Solitary 
Way, of Anglo-Saxon charters. 

Coming down on the pond the water looks black, 
the sky-line being so high that only the dark firs 
are reflected. A delightful water plant, the leaves 
in shape like an adder's-tongue fern, covers the 
edges of it, and great bullrushes stretch out far into 
its centre in irregular patches. Other minuter 
growths are mixed up with these ; the place is 
a very paradise for the pond naturalist. Flocks of 
wood-pigeons have their hiding-place near it, and 
break the stillness with their soft cooing. There 
are fairy rings, too, in the grassy parts, and glorious 
pink and orange toadstools under the trees. But 
words are feeble and inadequate to describe the 
delights hidden away in those few acres of ground. 

I am generally intent during a walk on getting 
some graceful wild bouquet for the drawing-room, 
and presently as we went along we came upon a 
sweet brier, dismantled of its leaves, but gay still 
with beautiful hips not yet eaten by the birds. A 
Japanese effect in the old incense burner was plainly 
indicated, and I was in the act of cutting a fine 
branch when Petunia grasped me by the arm. 

" Take care ! " she cried ; " oh, it's too late. 
What a pity ! " 

" What is the matter ? " I asked. 

" Do you notice that twig swaying a little as you 
hold it ? Look at it closer — what do you see ? " 

" I see a little brown twig, side by side with other 
little brown twias." 



"Touch it." 

I touched it, and the little branch seemed 
suspiciously soft. 

It was a geometer caterpillar, so cleverly dis- 
guised that I positively could not distinguish it, 
except by feeling, from the branch which supported 
it. Wonderfully had this insect protected itself by 
its extraordinary resemblance to the twig on which 
it had intended to spend the autumn. The hind 
claspers fitted tightly into a groove of the brier's 
main stem, the head and true legs being crumpled 
up into the appearance of a shrivelled-looking twig. 
With a silken thread or two it had fastened itself 
into a fairly secure position, there to pass its time 
of waiting before becoming a chrysalis. 

" Show me something else," I said to Petunia. 

" November is a particularly bad time for finding 
examples of protective resemblance, but we will go 
along the hedge and keep our eyes open." 

We kept our eyes very wide open indeed, but 
nothing happened again till we reached the pond. 
Petunia would have told me the Latin name of 
every weed in it, but real live adventures with 
caterpillars or other insects are far more interesting 
to my mind than that section of science which some- 
one has described as "all names and no powers," 
and so we raked the water with long branches to 
discover fresh wonders. And, sure enough, some- 
thing turned up at last. We pulled in a tendril of 
the pretty American weed called Anacharis, and 
remarked that it seemed to have taken to growing 
by side shoots instead of in its usual straight fashion. 
Abnormal appearances always excite Petunia, and 


she examined the weed very carefully as it lay in 
the water. The wind blew it towards us, but surely 
the little frond-like excrescences had independent 
movements of their own, which carried them back- 
wards against the wind sometimes for a moment. 
We secured a portion of the spray, and discovered 
that the lateral fronds were in reality caddis worms 
living in unwonted houses. Many a time had I 
found them moving slowly at the bottom of the 
water in their tiny tenements composed of pebbles, 
sticks, and shells. But here they were climbing 
near the surface on the Anacharis, which they 
had so cunningly imitated with little bits of stalk 
bound together and sticking out crossways, that 
one's first impulse was to suspect the weed of un- 
natural growth rather than to regard that growth 
as the home of a little colony of caddis worms. 

" Tell me more about caddis worms,'' I said to 

" I once assisted at the debut of eight," she 
answered, "which I had kept in a bell-glass 
aquarium. It seemed to me one morning that the 
largest of them looked very uncomfortable, and 
appeared to be struggling inside his tight little 
house. At last he wriggled his tail out of it — 
a very ugly little tail. I had never before seen 
more of him than his head and four of his front 
legs. Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle, he went, until I 
thought that he must break in half, but I found he 
was only trying to discard his old tail, so useful 
when he had to cling to his house, but no longer 
needed when he was starting for airier regions. 
He walked painfully up a small twig, and when 


he reached the surface of the water he waited 

"What was that for?" 

" Perhaps to take more breath, but no doubt also 
to dry his new clothes. Very mean and crumpled 
they looked. I doubted if there could really be 
four serviceable wings tucked away in so small a 
compass ; but gradually they opened out, and to my 
delight the little creature spread them and flew 
away into a new world." 

" Do you think," I asked, " that he would find 
his greater dangers compensated by his larger out- 
look upon life ? Do you think he would ever 
regret the monotony and the comparative safety of 
his watery home ? Do you think " 

" Don't be silly ! " said Petunia. 

We searched in the deep carpet of dead leaves 
in hopes of finding a butterfly or a ladybird tucked 
away for the winter, but none were to be seen. 
The total way in which the common butterflies 
contrive to disappear with the sunshine is won- 
derful. Some expose themselves freely on surfaces 
harmonising with their colours, but they are none 
the less difficult to distinguish even though the 
searcher may be gazing intently at them the while. 
Others dig down among thick leaves, or are buried 
by autumnal storms to emerge safely when spring 
has come back to the world. A remarkable ex- 
ample of protection is seen in the Herald Moth, 
which manages to live through the winter in com- 
plete safety. It is a bright red in colour, very 
similiar to a dead beech leaf, and over the red are 
scumbled a few white spots resembling fungoid 


growth. No bird would want to eat an object 
which appears to be merely a piece of vegetable 
fungus. But the moth has a pair of bright eyes, 
which would betray its identity and its fitness for 
food to the enemy, and to render it quite secure 
these eyes must be hidden. So at periods of rest 
it covers up the tell-tale orbits with a tuft of hair 
which springs from beneath the antennae, and when 
spring comes and the moth is ready to fly again it 
can bring the antennae forward to shake the tufts 
from before the eyes. So it is enabled to pass the 
time of danger, when its natural adversaries are 
hungry, in perfect safety ; and in the spring there 
are millions of other insects which the birds may 
prefer, so that it may live to die a natural death 
probably in May or June. 

" Now do use your own eyes for once," said 
Petunia in her uncomfortable, rather blatant man- 
ner, as she stopped before a bare stretch of hedge 
on our way home and put on her professorial 

It was easy enough to see — a round brown case 
about the size of a thimble, but without any open- 
ing for the finger. It was hidden away among the 
twigs which formed the hedge, and adhered to one 
of these twigs quite closely. It was evidently the 
home of some insect, and he had contrived it so 
cleverly that it would have been cruel to disturb 
him in his fancied security. It was quite a common 
insect. Petunia said, with the simple little name of 
Trichiosoma tenthredion. 

" I once took a similar little house home with 
me," she said, " and asked a learned entomologist 



what sort of insect had made it. But although he 
had often seen it he had never taken the trouble to 
watch for the owner's appearance in the spring. 
He could not bother himself with anything but 


" But I thought he was an entomologist ? " 
" He was a specialist entomologist, and the 
specialist will not take the slightest interest in a 
two-winged insect if his mind is set on collecting 
four-winged insects, although the most interesting 
life-histories may be going on under his nose." 


" Then how did you find out about the little 
house ? " 

" I had to wait several months until its owner 
showed itself. One day a perfectly clean section 
was cut out of the cocoon, and a four-winged 
bee-like insect emerged. I did not know any 
bee which was in the habit of choosing this sort 
of residence for the winter, so I had to watch 
and compare until I finally concluded that it was 
a sawfly." 

" Then why did he look like a bee ? " 

" Thousands of years ago he began probably to 
develop a little bit of yellow on his body, and in 
the course of time by a process of selection he be- 
came more and more bee-like, until now it needs 
more than a casual glance to tell the two apart. 
Bees have stings, and the more the sawfly resembled 
a stinging insect the more likely he was to escape 
his enemies. Have you ever noticed towards the 
end of the summer an unusually large number of 
big buzzy bees ? " 

"Of course I have." 

" Well, those big buzzy bees are nothing more 
than two-winged flies which have gradually become 
so like bees that their enemies — birds as well as 
men — have come to leave them alone, though they 
are as devoid of weapons as the common housefly. 
They merely imitate the bee for their own protec- 

"What a joke the whole thing must be to them! 
Do you think they are really able to enjoy it ? Are 
they laughing up their antennse while we pass them 
by with a shudder ? " 


" I cannot bear to hear a serious subject lightly 
treated. Only a very frivolous person or an idiot 
would do it." 

"And which am I, dear Petunia?" 

" I don't think I have ever considered you frivo- 
lous," said Petunia, in real distress. Nothing but 
a strict sense of duty could make her hurt my feel- 
ings ; but this sense — the sixth sense — is very 
highly developed in Petunia as in many other 
persons, and her friends sometimes suffer in conse- 
quence. I think she began to feel sorry that she 
had been unkind, so she brought out from the 
region of her heart a letter received a week or two 
since from a friend in South Africa. She gave me 
to understand, without resorting to definite words, 
that the friend was her cousin, Mr. Jervis, who is in 
the South African Police ; but I am not sure that 
this is fact. Mr. Mumby has never been properly 
accounted for, and I am justified in suspending 
judgment in the matter. 

"'The beasts here are a very cunning lot,'" she 
read, " ' and their mimicry borders on dishonesty. 
Some butterflies have wings just like a leaf, with 
the veining and all complete, and there are others 
which display greater cunning than that. They 
know that some of their friends are provided with 
little poison bags, which render them exceeding 
harmful to the tummies of birds and other mur- 
derous foes. Well, these little creatures, from 
financial or other reasons, can't run to a poison bag, 
so they imitate their neighbours' coats, and are 
gradually discarding their own national dress, so 
that only the wily naturalist can tell them from the 


poisonous sort. Where foes are scarce it is only 
the lady who assumes the disguise of safety, as she 
has to stand by and look after the family ; but the 
male wears his old uniform like a man, and runs the 
chance of getting a mauser bullet (or its equivalent) 
into him. Some of the ladies are even leaving off 
wings, and they pretend it is because it makes them 
look like stalks, and that they merely do it so as not 
to attract attention ; but I fear it may only be from 
some slavish following of fashion, which has decreed 
that wings are not worn this year. How I wish I 

could see you ' Oh, that has nothing to do 

with the subject ! " said Petunia, hastily folding the 

A very fascinating book to which Petunia first 
directed my attention is Mr. E. B. Poulton's Colours 
of Animals. It would be impossible for a non- 
specialist reader to give any just idea of its scope, 
but even the ordinary person to whom the subject 
is interesting may be permitted to enjoy it in a 
semi - ignorant fashion. Mr. Poulton begins by 
tracing the significance of colour and its direct 
physiological value, and then proceeds to the study 
of protective and aggressive resemblance and 
mimicry. Judging from my own case, there must 
be many persons walking this globe who have never 
made use of their eyes until perhaps some happy 
accident or the casual remark of a naturalist has 
forced them to realise that even in nature things 
are not always what they seem. 

By far the most widespread use of colour, as Mr. 
Poulton points out, is to assist an animal in escaping 
from its natural enemies, or in securing its prey. 


The former is Protective, the latter Apfo-ressive 
Resemblance. In Protective Resemblance the 
animal escapes notice by harmonising in colour 
with its surroundings, or by resembling some other 
creature in which its enemies feel no interest. 
Sometimes the animal will resemble an object 
which is attractive to its prey, and sometimes 
another which it desires to injure. These various 
conditions are delightful to read of in Mr. Poulton's 

Protective mimicry generally shows itself in the 
adoption of warning colours, which are assumed to 
help its wearer to survive natural dangers. I 
suppose that if we humans were merely an inferior 
race of beings on this globe and liable to be preyed 
upon by a species of creatures ten times our size, 
our first object in life would be so to protect our- 
selves as to reduce danger to the smallest possible 
dimensions. If, for instance, we discovered that 
our enemies never ate any of us who were coloured 
a vivid scarlet, I imagine that by degrees, through 
a process of selection, we should develop Into 
scarlet men and women for our own protection. 
The giants, in the first instance, would have some 
reason for avoiding prey of this colour. Probably 
in a past age certain of their ancestors, when men 
were still white, would have come upon a family of 
bright red specimens, arid, having eaten, developed 
an indigestion which brought them to an untimely 
end. The other giants would not only eschew 
scarlet men, but would fancy that everything that 
resembled a scarlet man was unfit for food. And so 
the white men would die out and the pale pink men 


would in the course of many generations be repre- 
sented by scarlet descendants, or else by none. 

And thus it is with insects and their warning 
colours. An animal that "tastes nasty" is wise to 
advertise the fact, and those that feel a prejudice 
against the idea of being eaten are also wise in 
imitating — though unconsciously and unintentionally 
— those which are unpleasant to the taste, so that 
they also may escape. 

There are many examples to be found in the 
insect world. The ladybird is a most nauseous 
mouthful, offensive to any enemy that should 
attempt to make a meal off it. It is coloured red 
and black in a pattern easily recognisable, and thus 
escapes destruction. The wasp and the hornet are 
provided with stings which might cause the death 
of an attacking enemy. But in the struggle they 
also might die, therefore they provide themselves 
with a yellow and black uniform which their foes 
are careful to avoid. 

But there are many insects still left to be preyed 
upon — insects perfectly edible and quite delicious 
to the palate, and these have to protect them- 
selves. They set about doing so, in many cases, 
by imitating either the inedible or the stinging 
insects. Some of the moths are very successful in 
this respect ; those, for instance, which are called 
the hornet clear-winged moths carrying their re- 
semblance to a hornet or a large wasp so far that 
many human beings would make a hasty departure 
when they appeared. These moths are so careful 
to carry out the illusion that, when threatened, they 
even waggle their tails about, as if they were going 


to sting, although they are quite devoid of the 
power of doing so. 

In the Filippine Islands there lives a grasshopper 
of much discernment. He has remarked the ap- 
pearance of the ladybird, and its immunity from 
predatory foes ; so he has gradually acquired a 
rounded shape and a general scheme of colour imi- 
tating that unpleasant little beetle, and thus he 
escapes his enemies. Another example is that of 
the leaf-cutting ant, which is common in tropical 
America. Every ant, when he goes home to tea, 
carries with him a leafy umbrella about the size 
of a sixpence, and another class of insects in the 
neighbourhood also make a point, when they 
are going home, of pretending that they too are 
indigestible little ants, and imitate even the ant's 
leaf very closely by a thin expansion, which de- 
ceives all but the most acute observer. 

There are spiders which imitate ants, and hold 
their forelegs as if they were antennae. They know 
how delicious they are to the birds, and how un- 
palatable are the ants, so they protect themselves 
by mimicry. And some South American cater- 
pillars even imitate snakes. They have eye-like 
marks on each side of two of the body rings, and 
when they are frightened they draw their rings 
together in such a way as to exhibit the apparent 
eyes, which, when seen through leafy boughs, give 
an inconspicuous animal a terrifying appearance. 

A still more curious effect can be seen in the 
caterpillar of the puss moth (Cerura vinula). This 
larva, when undisturbed, has no very uncommon 
appearance, but as soon as it is discovered it with- 


draws its head into the first body ring, and presents 
to the astonished observer a large flat face, which 
is a greatly exaggerated caricature of a vertebrate 
countenance. This caterpillar is so alarming in 
appearance that a certain learned entomologist who 
saw it for the first time was afraid to touch it when 
it assumed its terrifying attitude, and appeared to 
glare at him with its two eye-marks, resembling jet- 
black eyes. 

When we thus see how cleverly an insect can 
protect itself against its natural foes by assuming 
warning forms and colours, it at once strikes the 
careless observer that the remarkable thing is that 
more species have not availed themselves of the 
process. We see about us on a summer walk two 
great groups of insects — those which so closely 
resemble surrounding objects that they are almost 
indistinguishable from them, and those which are 
so brilliantly coloured that they must attract atten- 
tion from every living creature. We are quick to 
conclude that the brightly coloured ones are pro- 
tected by flavour or texture from death by hungry 
enemies ; and it seems absurd that the other duller 
creatures, which are only protected by a certain 
resemblance to their surroundings, should not have 
adopted a more aggressive means of self-preserva- 
tion. There must be some principle antagonistic 
to such a mode of protection, and this principle 
would be found in the too complete success of the 
method. If a very common insect which formed 
the staple food of some animal took such a means 
to protect itself, the predatory animal would be 
forced to eat unpalatable food to avoid starvation. 


In the course of time the unpalatable food would be 
so familiar that custom would render it desirable. 
If once the enemy was driven by hunger to eat 
largely of any such insect, it would come in the end 
to devour with relish the food which at first it ate 
only under sheer necessity. 

There is but little doubt in these days that animal 
colour must have been in the first place non-signifi- 
cant. By the process of natural selection it has 
become in many instances significant. Mr. Poulton 
is a firm adherent of Darwinism, and, like that great 
biologist, considers natural selection as the one 
solid foundation upon which evolution rests. He 
points out the direct testimony to this view which 
has been brought to bear on the subject, and comes 
to the conclusion that experiment would prove all 
mimicked species to be dangerous or disagreeable 
to the enemies of their class, and that all mimetic 
resemblances are due to natural selection. 


Dec. ''T^HIS is the Day of the Unconquered 
25. X. Sun — dies invicti solis. To-day seems 
to justify the patristic choice of Christ's birthday 
anniversary, for we have been rejoicing in the sun's 
glorious brilliancy since early dawn, and there is 
even warmth in his rays. 

My labours of Christmas are at an end. I have 
tied up, labelled, and myself distributed parcels to 
two hundred and ten children and old people, not 
forgetting the shepherd in the distant field known 
as Cunnigaw Hill since the Saxon days when 
perhaps a king owned it. It is always the 
shepherds who are apt to be forgotten at times 
of rejoicing, and a special effort is entailed to 
provide some pleasure for them. The season's 
responsibilities and the day's duties being alike well 
over, I can spend an hour in the greenhouse before 
darkness drives me indoors. It is weeks since 
I have been able to give a whole hour to my plants, 
and I know no greater refreshment to the tired 
mind and body than to get away into their company 
and pore over every growing stem and leaf and 
note their rate of progress and their prospects of 
a speedy delivery of their tender blossoms. 

December is a month when every bloom is valu- 



able. If the flower famine ever threatens in the 
well-managed greenhouse it is between the winter 
solstice and mid- January. Just now, for instance, 
I have fewer varieties in bloom than at any season 
of the year, though luckily there is no diminution 
in the general bulk. 


Apart from chrysanthemums, the most useful 
flower for the amateur from October to December, 
as I think I have said before, is the zonal pelar- 
gonium. Provided that true winter varieties are 
stocked, there can hardly be too many plants on the 
shelves. But three months of continued flowering- 
will naturally result in some exhaustion, and by the 


end of the year other plants must take the place 
of the geranium as a mainstay of the gardener. 
Nothing is better suited for this purpose than the 
primula, which is as easy to grow as the geranium, 
and can be provided in almost equally generous 
quantities to tide over the season of threatened 
famine before the succession of bulbs come in, 
which will be about the middle of January. 
Cinerarias are almost as useful as primulas, but 
in a small house very few can be maintained, as 
they are worthless unless well grown. It is not 
generally recognised that cinerarias are admirable 
for cutting if the flowers are picked before they are 
expanded to their fullest. I have had them in 
vases for ten days or a fortnight, but it is necessary 
to change the water every day, and to give them 
good-sized vases. 

I said in a previous chapter that I would describe 
the best way to enjoy hardy bulbs in the drawing- 
room, so I will give my experiences here. 

I had a few Roman hyacinths in bloom at the 
end of November, but the main supply came in 
about a fortnight ago. I have a blue basin, in 
shape and size rather like a shallow wash-basin, 
but of a good porcelain, and having the design 
painted all over the outside. It is sixteen inches 
in diameter, and holds about eighteen or twenty 
bulbs. We first fill the basin half full of sand, 
then dig up with great care from the box of 
hyacinths all those bulbs whose flowers are on the 
point of expanding. The roots are preserved as 
nearly intact as possible, and are dipped in luke- 
warm water to cleanse them from the soil, before 


being replanted in the basin of sand. More sand 
is then strewn over and around them to keep them 
steady, and finally a layer of moss is laid over the 
foots. The sand is kept wet, and so long as this 
point is attended to so long will the bulbs thrive as 
well as though they were still in their original 
boxes. My bulbs this year are the best I have 
ever had. Each one is throwing up at least three 
or four flower sprays, some as many as nine, the 
new shoots growing up from below, and coming to 
as full expansion in their fresh quarters as if they 
had never been disturbed. 

A big beau-pot has a number of double Roman 
narcissi treated in the same way ; and a third con- 
tains paper-white narcissi. A thin green stick 
should be inserted deep in the sand at the middle 
of the pot, rising to within a few inches of the top 
of the leaves, and to this stick each flower stem 
can, if necessary, be tied back invisibly with a fine 
green thread. It is worth while to take consider- 
able preliminary pains with an arrangement of this 
sort, because it will last in good condition for two 
or three weeks at least, and will be immensely 
admired by all who see it. 

I daresay there are gardens and greenhouses 
which are so large in extent and so well stocked 
that they may be depended upon to give sufficient 
results without the need of any special expenditure 
of trouble. But the small gardener who, like 
myself, wishes to get large results from a limited 
space, will find that the secret of success lies in 
unwearying effort. Nothing must be neglected at 
any season of the year ; systematic culture and 


tendance must become machine-like in their 
regularity. This habit is easy enough to arrive 
at when one begins to trace how failure comes 
from disregard of elementary principles. For 
instance, I rely on zonal pelargoniums to fill up 
gaps in the last three months of the year. If we 
fail to strike them early in March, delaying 
propagation for a month or two, the plants will 
not gather vitality enough in the summer to blossom 
when I want them. They will do their best perhaps 
in January and February, when bulbs are plentiful 
and the geraniums are not so necessary as in the 
darker days of late autumn. 

No doubt the ideal practice would be to prolong 
the season of things by having a succession to 
come on when the first show is over. But — ao-ain 
to instance the useful pelargonium — fifty pots of 
these timed to blossom in February, and kept 
carefully disbudded until early in the year, would 
take up room on the shelves which should be 
devoted to plants flowering before that date. Of 
course, if the greenhouse area is considerable this 
may and should be done ; but in a limited space 
economy of time and of room is so important that 
it would not pay the amateur to deviate from the 
rules which common sense lays down in the matter. 

And to the owner of a small house I may give 
another useful hint. There is no room in it for 
rubbish, or even for inferior varieties. If a 
geranium flowers sparsely or with a short footstalk 
which makes it useless for cutting, throw it away. 
If cinerarias come a bad colour, go to a different 
seedsman for your next seed. If freesias are not 


full grown, reject them ; if chrysanthemums are 
bad doers, fling them on the dust heap. Never 
keep a plant that is not one of the best of its kind 
for your purpose. It is just as expensive to 
keep a greenhouse fire going, and labour paid, for 
bad things as for good things, and the results are 
not comparable. I have been at some pains to 
impress this maxim on Sterculus for several years 
past, and I w^as amused not long since to discover 
that at last he had learnt his lesson. I happened 
to make inquiries for a plant that he had long 
cherished against my reiterated wishes, but I had 
not liked to condemn it utterly, as he had received 
it from somebody as a present to himself, and had 
passed it on to the greenhouse. 

" What / says," he remarked, eyeing me severely, 
as though he was repeating an oft-given lesson to 
a refractory pupil — " what /says is that we haven't 
got room enough in a little place like ours for 
rubbish. Bad things is as expensive to grow 
as good things, and I don't hold wi' having nothing 
but the best." 

I heartily agreed with him, and succeeded in 
looking, I hope, as though the idea was an entirely 
new one to me. The main thing was that he had 
come round to sound views at last. 

Dec. 26. We had a pleasant little party of three 
last evening, Magdalen and ourselves. She, 
usually so reserved, was full of life and gaiety, 
which gave her another charm in my eyes. She is 
always good to look at, with her tall, lissom figure 
and bfeautiful face framed with its bright brown 
hair ; but she is not always attractive to the general, 


because she can be not a little repellent when the 
mood takes her. But last night she was her 
brightest and gayest self. There was no coldness 
displayed for Jim's benefit, as has been so often i' 
the case for a long time past, and he was allowed, 
to enjoy her society, if he would, without stint or 
reserve. I told her about Nancy's scene with 
Meshach, who now regards himself as her fortunate 
lover, and we all laughed over it together. 

"Come now, Magdalen," I said, "what would 
you have done if you had been in Nancy's position?" 

" What should I have done ? I should certainly 
not have done as Nancy did, though perhaps she 
is almost justified by the event." 

"Wouldn't you have showed him that he cared, 
and that you cared ? " 

" Most certainly not, for I should not have cared." 

" But if you had cared ? " 

"If I had cared for him no one would have 
known it, not even myself Or if myself had had 
a faint suspicion of it I should have treated myself 
as a foolish child." 

"But given the fact that they loved each other, 
and that Nancy was convinced of it, don't you 
think she did right ? " 

"Oh, I daresay she did right — for Nancy," said 
Magdalen carelessly. " People's ideas vary, that 
is all." 

" But," I persisted, "you acknowledged that she 
is justified by the event." 

" I said almost justified — perhaps. I don't think 
any woman is justified in risking rejection by a 


" But you might also say, if you want to be 
strictly reasonable, that no man is justified either 
in risking a refusal from a woman. And where 
should you be then ? " 

" I should be exactly where I was before," 
laughed Magdalen ; " but probably you mean where 
would he be." 

" Yes, where would he be ? " 

" He would be just where he ought to be," said 
Magdalen, with some heat, "at the feet of the 
woman he loves. But if she loved him she would 
see that he was not there long." 

" But if she didn't love him ? " 

" Oh, then it wouldn't matter." 

" Yes, it would matter, for you would have placed 
him in a position which you would consider humilia- 
ting for her. You are not reasonable." 

"It isn't a case for reasonableness. There is no 
reason in any aspect of the position. If you want 
reason you must have suitable marriages arranged 
at a central bureau." 

" But given the present state of things, I don't 
see why a woman should not show a man that she 
loves him." 

" How should she show him when perhaps she 
won't show her own heart ? No, he practically 
commands the position in being the person who has 
apparently the sole right of choosing. Let him 
have its disadvantages, too, in being liable to 

" I don't think the least deserving man in the 
world ought to be liable to rejection, if rejection is 
so unpleasant as you seem to imagine. He ought 


to know whether a woman loves him before he 

" I think in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred 
he does know, or he might know, at least, if he 
chose to exercise common sense." 

" But," I said, taking her at a disadvantage, 
" you contradict yourself, for you say that a woman 
is so unwilling to be the only one who loves that 
she will not own even to herself that she loves. If 
she will not own it to herself, how shall she show it 
to him ? And if she does not show it to him, how 
shall he know it ? No, you don't expect him to 
exercise common sense ; you expect him to be 
superhuman, which is unreasonable." 

"As I said before, reason has no place in the 
matter," answered Magdalen loftily, "so that I 
cannot be blamed for want of it. Where there is 
no reason it would be superfluous to attempt to 
manufacture it in the person of a single individual." 

That is the way Magdalen gets out of difficulties 
when she is hard pressed. Jim only laughed. 
Like most men, he detests women with logical 
minds, and a woman who could bring an argument 
to a satisfactory and perfectly fair conclusion would 
have no merit in his eyes. 

After he had taken Magdalen back to the 
Manor and had settled himself in an armchair for 
his last pipe, I thought it advisable to continue the 

"Talking about Nancy," I said, "what do you 
think of the matter ? Do you consider that she 
was justified by the event ? " 

" No, I do not," replied Jim. 


"On what grounds ? " 

" That by taking the initiative she lost something 
so precious that its loss was irremediable." 

"What did she lose?" 

" If you don't know by instinct what she lost," 
replied Jim, deliberately puffing away at his pipe, 
" not all the explanation in the world would convey 
it to you. But you do know." 

" At any rate, I deny that you are right in 
looking at the thing from that aspect. You are 
old-fashioned and narrow and utterly mistaken. 
You are conventional and ridiculous. You are " 

"This is the sort of argument I really enjoy," 
said Jim. " I was afraid I should lose my affection 
for you when I heard you demolishing Magdalen's 
fallacies. But now I know that you are no better 
— or no worse — than she is, my mind is relieved 
about you. It is bedtime. Shall I light your 
candle ? " 

To attempt to get at Jim's real self is as futile as 
the effort to reach the North Pole. 

A capital occupation for December evenings is 
the planning of effects for next summer. If annuals 
are much used a good deal of thought will be 
required for their right selection and juxtaposition, 
and even if nothing but perennials are grown there 
is still scope for some foresight and judgment. In 
February the first of the seeds will have to be 
sown, and these should not be chosen or ordered at 
random, so that a long winter evening or two may 
profitably be employed in thinking out a colour 
scheme, or in devising fresh combinations. 

It is a good plan just now to make a round of 


the rose-beds and to remove faulty stakes. The 
autumn gales will hardly have permitted every one 
to remain intact, and the ground is soft enough 
during most of December to allow weak supports to 
be replaced by strong ones. In January we maybe 
frost bound, and the standard trees might have to 
wait long for adequate support if their need of it is 
not discovered now. 

In the greenhouse and storehouse it is advisable 
to look over begonia bulbs, dahlias, gladioli, and 
other such things. Those that may be rotting will 
be better on the rubbish heap, and care will prevent 
others from following them. The damp fogs of the 
month are in themselves sufficiently dangerous to 
plants under glass without the added risk of decay- 
ing vegetable matter within. Dead leaves should 
be removed as soon as they fall, or sooner, and care 
must be used in watering not to sprinkle the house 
and stages unnecessarily. 

Cinerarias coming into bloom will be the better 
for weak applications of manure water every three 
or four days, but it is important not to allow the 
flowering zonal pelargoniums to enjoy this luxury. 
Manure water is beneficial to them in their growing 
season, when root and leaf have to be encouraged 
to unite in making good plants. But if it is given 
when they are in full flower they will immediately 
put forth large efforts for improving their foliage, 
and the flowers will greatly diminish in number 
and perhaps cease altogether. I lost more than 
one season's bloom through Sterculus's well-meant 
generosity to them in early winter. 

The best quality of bulbs is their perfect willing- 


ness to remain in a cold frame, with proper pro- 
tection, until the greenhouse is ready to receive 
them. Twenty degrees of frost in the open will 
not hurt hardy bulbs in well-protected frames. As 
the soft-wooded plants go out of bloom, and are 
either thrown away or hidden in some corner until 
they require attention again, the boxes of bulbs 
may be moved into the greenhouse to continue the 
winter supply. Snowdrops are better left in the 
frames until the buds are formed, or even until the 
blossoms are partly expanded, and there are other 
things which will not suffer under this treatment. 
I have this winter two or three boxes of narcissi, 
the double Roman and the paper- white, whose 
flowers are actually opening in the frames, and 
although this might not be possible in a severe and 
continued frost, it is wonderful what a little extra 
protection will do for bulbs. 

There are various other things in bloom, though 
not as yet in any quantity ; these are cyclamens, 
freesias, cinerarias, arums, or calla Richardias, 
Christmas roses, the scarlet Due van Tholl tulips, 
scillas, and muscaris of sorts, chiefly the beautiful 
Heavenly Blue variety. Chrysanthemums still 
abound, thanks to the cold treatment which the 
latest plants have had, and I expect to enjoy them 
for quite another fortnight, though they will be but 
few towards the end of it. 

Another useful plant that has an extended flower- 
ing season, and is now at its best in some of my 
neighbours' houses, is the fibrous-rooted begonia 
Gloire de Lorraine. I should work up a stock of 
it but that I have discovered that we have not 
warmth enough to flower it when I want it most. 

254 DECEMBER 255 

Petunia has employed her Boxing Day to good 
advantage by coming over to see me after an 
absence of some weeks. She was rather amusing, 
which is not her wont, unless without intention. 
She told me that she had just come from the 
Cottage Hospital at Oldborough, where she had 
been asked to pay a visit to a protdgde of her Vicar. 
The woman was evidently suffering from some 
injury to her arm, and Petunia asked what ailed it. 

"Oh," replied the patient, "it was bitten by a 
lady friend." 

The hospital is situated, appropriately enough, 
next to the churchyard, and a newly made grave 
attrarasd Petunia's attention as she passed. Like a 
good many other people, she can never resist the 
temptation to examine funeral wreaths and their 
inscriptions. The uppermost one bore a large card 
inscribed — 

" With deep sympathy from his widow and children." 

There is a touching as well as a humorous sugges- 
tion about this. The survivors evidently were con- 
vinced that they had the best of it, and sincerely 
commiserated the corpse. 

Petunia was very happy. Her affairs seem to be 
arranging themselves comfortably, and I have no 
doubt that before long the great news will be suffi- 
ciently authorised to allow of its being announced 
to who cares to hear it. But she is still a little 
anxious. She dreamed three nights ago about her 
toes, and as if this was not a sufficiently bad omen, 
she dreamed the next night that she was eating 
fish. So she has intervals of despair alternating 


with her happiness. Where Petunia gets her super- 
stitions from is always a marvel to me, but one may 
do anything with her except laugh at her, and 
luckily her narrative of hopes and fears passed off 
without any discordant element. 

Petunia has a new Vicar. He is a young gentle- 
man of very pronounced High Church views, and 
at present he appears to be alternately the pride 
and the despair of his parishioners. Since he is 
not essential to Petunia's well-being — as I shall to 
my dying day believe that for a while his predecessor 
was — she can enjoy a sly joke at his expense. It 
seems that a poor woman of his flock lay dying, 
and there was evidently on her mind a load of 
which she could not be persuaded to unburden 
herself. The Vicar, yearning to confess and absolve 
her, lost no opportunity of pressing the poor thing 
to tell him her trouble, which she promised one day 
to do on the following morning, when, as the Vicar 
said, the house would be quiet, and there would be 
no hindrance to her confession. The dear young 
man appeared by her bedside that day clad in his 
ecclesiastical garments of surplice and cassock, and 
after preliminary prayer he approached the momen- 
tous subject. It was the first time that he had ever 
succeeded in bringing one of his new parishioners 
up to this point. 

"Yes, sir," said Mrs. Giles very feebly, "I've 
had summat on my mind ever since I know'd I was 
goin', an' now I'll tell 'ee what 'tis. Jack's all right, 
but Harry's top-coat won't last the winter." 

This good young man comes from a London 
parish, and he does not yet know our Wessex 


people. They have the religious instinct to a very 
remarkable degree, but they can endure no human 
interference between the soul and its Creator. This 
stern individualism is a remnant of Puritanism. 

Their religion is peculiar, and varies with the 
circumstances of life ; the tenets are few but marked. 
In early years quietness is the chief characteristic of 
the virtuous person. It is the test by which he is 
judged. A quiet man is almost of necessity on the 
right road, unless he be an Irishman or a Roman 
Catholic, in which case salvation is hardly considered 
even a remote possibility for him. If the quiet 
man goes to a place of worship, the case is a clear 
one ; if he goes to half a dozen, it is clearer still. 
He is on the right road. The rustic does not talk 
of being saved nowadays, except in bigoted circles ; 
quietness is the essential for the young man who is 
credited with having "got religion," and it would 
be unreasonable to look for much more from him. 

The next step comes about middle age, and may, 
for want of a better word, be termed Respectedness, 
or Dignification, as Isaac Walton would call it. The 
man respects himself more than he respects any 
other person of his acquaintance. He shows every- 
body he meets how fit it is that he should be 
respected. His behaviour under all circumstances 
is admirable. He takes in a newspaper and spells 
it out to his friends in the intervals of work. 
He accumulates piles of household goods, and is 
always a maximum subscriber to parochial clothing 
clubs. He attends all the village entertainments, 
provided the price of admission is not too low ; he 
could not be seen in a penny seat without loss of 


self-respect, but a sixpenny one will invariably find 
him. He is always in church on collection Sundays, 
well dressed, admirably conducted, attending with a 
detached reasonableness to the service. He is never 
emotional ; he has no " conviction of sin," such as 
his dissenting relatives suffer from ; he never talks 
about getting to heaven, nor even thinks about it. 
Personal dignification is his creed, and it carries him 
over many a rough journey, and makes the way 
smooth for him. No one would expect more of 
him than this admirable position. 

But when he is old, or when, being not yet old. 
Death comes knocking for him, all is changed. 
Public opinion is satisfied that a man shall live with 
quietness and dignification for his religion, but it 
is not satisfied that he should die with them. He 
must find God on his deathbed. Every man and 
woman who comes to see him points out his duty 
in the matter. " You must think o' Heaven now, 
master, because you've got naught else to look to," 
is the invariable line of argument. And so, since 
he has always done his simple duty, he clasps his 
hands and says, "Angels! — Glory!" and dies as 
quietly as he lived, and everyone is happy about 
him, and says he makes a beautiful corpse. 

I don't think that Petunia's good young vicar 
can appreciate this type of rustic. But it is a noble 
type, nevertheless, instinct with that proportion and 
form of self-control which alone is attainable by its 
subject. The higher flights of ecstasy and self- 
abnegation are not possible to him ; his carnal 
will is brought into subjection in a diverse way 
from that of his educated brother; his ideal is a 


different one, perhaps a lower one, but he does his 
best to live up to it. He has made a religion of his 
own, suited to his workaday life with its limitations 
and temptations, and through this religion, inade- 
quate as we may be inclined to regard it, he finds 
himself enabled to — 

" Move upward, working out the beast. 
And let the ape and tiger die." 

People are very fond of talking about the "good 
old days." For my part, I confess myself no lauder 
of the acted time, and I don't believe there ever 
were any good old days. The days when men were 
young seem good to them in retrospect, and that is 
probably the extent of it. In the country we read 
much in our daily newspapers, which come from 
London, about the agricultural depression, but the 
dweller in the wilderness is forced to admit that 
this depression is not visible to the naked eye. The 
occupier, at any rate, whether farmer or labourer, is 
as flourishing as he chooses to be, though the actual 
owner of the land is obliged to deny himself many 
luxuries that were formerly his. As he is in a 
minority, however, he gets but scant attention paid 
to his impoverished condition, and, taken as a whole, 
the days are better for the dweller on the land than 
they ever before have been. But there were 
certainly times when men in country places enjoyed 
life more boisterously than they do now. If we 
have anything to regret of the customs left behind 
us in past ages, it is the games, the sports, which 
gave life to the village green. Of these games not 
one exists here at the present day, and the sole 





link we have with pre- Reformation times is the 
Christmas play which is still enacted by our village 
mummers. It is preserved orally, and is passed on 
thus from generation to generation. I have taken 
it down from the lips of a member of an hereditary 
mumming family, and append it here as I heard it 
last night in our kitchen regions, and have heard it 
almost every Christmas-time through my life. It 
may be observed from internal evidence that the 
characters were formerly more numerous than they 
are in these degenerate days ; for the bold Turkish 
Knight, to accommodate himself to the shrunken 
number of the players, and perhaps also to suit the 
exigencies of the tale and the necessity for a re- 
cognition of British conquest everywhere, is rolled 
into one with the Bold Foreign King. 

The peaceful winter night is disturbed by the 
sound of stealthy footsteps outside the drawing- 
room windows, and presently, led by a concertina, 
the preliminary chant breaks out — 

" God bless the master of this house, 
I hope he is athin — 
An' if he is praay tell us zo, 
An' zoon we 'ool begin. 

Chorus — With a hey dum dum, 
With a hey dum dum, 
With a hey dum dum de derry ; 
Vor we be come this Christmas-time 
A purpose to be merry. 

" I hopes the missis is athin, 
A-zittin' by the vire, 
A-pittin' us poor mummers yer, 
Out in the dirty mire. 

Chorus — With a hey dum dum, etc. 


" We doan't come yer but wunst a year, 
An' hopes 'tis no offence ; 
An' if it is praay tell us zo, 
An' zoon we 'ool go hence. 

Chorus — With a hey dum dum, etc." 

The invitation to enter is given, and the mum- 
mers go round to the kitchen, where presently the 
members of the family and the servants are gathered 
to witness the play. Each mummer enters singly 
in a conventional order, and each when he has come 
in proceeds to tramp round the room in a dizzy 
circle, excepting while the floor is occupied by the 
fight, when all except the combatants stand aside 
for a while. 


Excursions without, followed by a knock at the door. Enter 
Father Christmas, attired in motley of chintz, from his high- 
crowned indefinite headgear depending fringes of coloured paper 
reaching nearly to the waist, and partly concealing his features. 

Father Christmas. 

In comes I, wold Veyther Christmas, 

Welcome or welcome not ; 
I hopes wold Veyther Christmas 

'Ool never be forgot. 

Christmas comes but wunst a year, 

An' when it comes it brings good cheer ; 

Roast beef, plum pudding, strong beer, mince pie. 

Who likes that any better'n little Happy Jack'n I ? 

In this room there shall be shown 
The girtest battle as ever was known. 
Between King Jarge an' the Turkish Knight, 
Come over into old England vor to vight. 
A room, a room ! I do assume 
Vor my brave bwoys an' soldiers too ; 
An' that's the reason why I zay 
Walk in. King Jarge, an' clear thy way. 


Enter King George, attired in as near an approach as he dares 
don to a modern military uniform. His manner is blustering 
and aggressive. 

King George. 

In comes I, King Jarge, 

That man of kerrage bold ; 
With my broad sword in my hand 
I won ten thousand pounds in gold. 

'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon, 
An' brought en to the slaughter ; 

'Twas I that won 

The King of Egypt's daughter. 

With my manhood zo brave. 

An' my vallet zo true, 
I've conquered armies an' nations, an' still I say, 
I'll fight wi' any fightin' man as comes athin my way. 

Father Christmas. Walk in, thou Foreign King. 

Enter The Foreign King, dressed somewhat like Father 
Christmas — as are nearly all the following characters — but 
with a blackface. His manner is as blatant as King George's 
until his defeat at the champion's hands, when he cringes in 
proper form, as England's enemies should everywhere do. 

The Foreign King. 

In comes I, the bold Foreign King, 
Wi' my broad sword in my hand 
I'll quickly make it swing. 
Likewise I am the bold Turkish Knight, 
Just come into old England vor to fight. 
Let King Jarge — that man of kerrage bold — 
Draw his sword ; 
If his blood be hot 
I'll quickly make it cold. 

King George. 

Hold, thou Turkish Knight ! 
Thou talkest very bold ; 
But draw thy sword an' vight. 
Or draw thy purse an' pay ; 
Vor satisfaction I 'ool have 
Avore thou goest away. 



Zatisfaction, King Jarge ? There is no 

The Foreign King. 
zatisfaction at all ; 
Vor thee an' I 'col battle to zee which of us on the vloor shall 
virst vail. [A terrible fight ensues, and The Foreign King 

falls on one knee. 

"thee an' I 'OOL BATTLE" 

The Foreign King. 

Pardon me, pardon me, O King, I crave ! 
Pardon me. King Jarge, an' vor ever 'ool I be thy slave. 
[King George pardons him, and they fight again. 
The Foreign King is killed. 
Father Christmas. 

Oh, King ! oh, King ! what hast thou done ? 
Thou hast ruined me by killin' my only zon ! 



King George. Nay, Father, 'twas thy zon as gave me the 
virst challenge. 

Father Christmas. Is there a doctor to be vound 
To cure this man as lies bleedin' an' wounded on the ground ? 


King George. Yes, there is a doctor to be vound 
To cure this man lyin' bleedin' an' wounded on the ground. 
Father Christmas. Who is he ? 
King George. Peter Gray. 
Father Christmas. Walk in, Peter Gray. 


Enter Peter Gray. 
Peter Gray. Who are you a-callin' Peter Gray ? 
My name is not Peter Gray, 
• My name is Mister Gray — 
Zo the people all zay. 

Father Christmas. Oh, doctor, doctor, what is thy fee ? 

Peter Gray. Ten guineas is my fee. 

But fifty guineas I'll take of thee. 

Father Christmas. Take it all, doctor, but what canst thou 

Peter Gray. 

I can cure the itch, the stitch, the palsy, an' the gout. 

All pains athin an' all pains athout, 

An' if this man hev got a bush in's toe I can pull en out. 

Yes, I am a noble little doctor ; I am not one of them deceit- 
ful quack doctors as walks from place to place a-zayin' what they 
can do. What I doos I doos before you all; 'tis hard if you 
cain't believe your own eyes. I've got a bottle here called the 
Foster Drops. I'll put one drop on the tip of his tongue, an' 
one drop on the palm of his hand, an' will zay to en, Arise ! 
arise ! an' walk as quickly as thou canst ! 

King George {menacingly). Arise ! arise, an' get thee back 
to thine own country, an' tell them that King Jarge can vight 
ten thousand better men than thee. [The Foreign King rises. 
All begin again to tramp in a circle round the room. 

Father Christmas. Walk in, Tall-an'-Smart. 

Enter Tall-and-Smart. 

In comes I, bold Tall-an'-Smart, 
I tells my mind wi' all my heart j 
My head is made of iron, 
My body's lined wi' steel, 
My trousers fits my legs zo tight. 
My garters drags my heel. 
Virst Christmas, an' then comes spring — 
I am a little jolly lad can either dance or zing. 

Father Christmas. Walk in, bold Granny-dear. 



Enter The Bold Grenadier. 

The Bold Grenadier. 

In comes I, bold Granny-dear, 
Vor Tall-an'-Smart I do not vear : 
If his head is made of iron, 
An' his body's lined wi' steel, 
Vrom his head to his shoulders 
I'll quickly make en veel. 

Father Christmas. Walk in, Happy Jack. 



Enter Happy Jack, a flag-basket containing a large rag doll and 
several small ones slung over his back. 

Happy Jack. In comes I, litde Happy Jack, 

Wi' my wife an' vam'ly at my back. 


My vam'ly large, though I be small, 

Every little helps us all. 

Out o' nine I've got but vive. 

An' half o' they be starved alive : 
A cup o' Christmas ale will make us dance an' zing, 
But money in our pocket's a much better thing. 
Ladies an' gentlemen a-zettin' at your ease. 
Give us a Christmas-box, just what you please. 

Father Christmas. Walk in, Mazzdnt binnit. 

Enter Him-as-ain't-been-in-yet. 


In walks I as an't bin 'it, 

Wi' my girt head an' little wit, 

My head zo big, my wit zo small — 

I've brought my viddle to please 'ee all. 

Green sleeves, yellow lace, 

Come all you mummers, dance apace. 

The viddler is in great distress 

Vor want of a little money. 

\Polka, in which all take part. 


Jan. ' I ^HERE are few records more interesting, 
2- x_ to my mind, than those deahng with the 
history of the place in which one lives. 

The documentary history of this parish goes 
back very far, for we learn that a portion of 
it belonged to the monastery of Abingdon in the 
seventh century. Ceadwalla, the monkish King of 
Wessex, granted property here to the monastery in 
A.D. 686, and the grant was confirmed by Cenwulf, 
King of Mercia, in a.d. 821. Tradition tells of a 
temporary or a summer camp here in Roman days. 
The high ridge between two valleys was admirably 
suited to such a position for surveying purposes, 
commanding the country westward beyond Marl- 
borough, and on the north and east almost as far. 
It is easy to weave a pretty story round a silver 
coin of the Republic, B.C. circa 217, which was dug 
up in a field just below the camp some thirty or 
forty years since. It is a coin common enough 
with collectors, but is the only one of its kind 
ever found in England, and it is probable that it 
was brought over by a Roman soldier during the 
Occupation as a keepsake, and lost by him in the 
meadow where it was so many centuries later found. 
There may have been much wailing and heart- 



searching in consequence, and I should like to 
know what the Roman maiden said when her swain 
turned up on Tiber's banks without her gage of love. 

The parish consists of six small villages, with 
a total population in these days of about eight 
hundred souls. Various Saxon charters are extant 
which deal with lands in the parish, and in Domes- 
day it is recorded that a principal owner of property 
was a certain Editha, who may possibly have been 
the widow of Edward the Confessor. She appears 
to have had power to deal with the place as she 
chose, for the book in its quaint phraseology tells 
us that " Editha herself might go where she 
pleased," or, in other words, that she had the 
privilege of alienating the property if she should 
desire to do so. 

Until the year 1226 that portion of the parish 
which lies about the River Kennet was included 
within the confines of Windsor Forest, although it 
lay at least forty miles from the royal domain. 
It was disafforested in the year mentioned, but it 
is evident that the King was still liable to come 
hunting here, for in 1284 William Lovell held two 
carucates of land by the sergeanty of keeping a 
kennel of hounds at the King's cost. There is still 
a lonely cot called King's Barn in the part of the 
parish in which William Lovell's manor lay, but I 
doubt if its name has been handed down from the 
thirteenth century. Local tradition asserts that it 
was the abode of a certain Daddy King, who died 
a violent death, and still haunts the lane near 
King's Barn. He wandered when in his cups into 
a shallow dip-hole on the hillside, and falling on 


his face, was suffocated there. He is said to have 
been a very small man, and the last person who 
saw his wraith, about half a century since, could 
bring as sole evidence his belief that the shade 
which appeared to him was "about the height of 
a donkey." But this testimony has always been 
considered quite conclusive, for was not Daddy 
King locally reported to have been an abnormally 
small man ? 

William Lovell's manor was a portion of that 
property which belonged nearly a hundred years 
after his time to William Danvers, who in 1353 
alienated his possessions to King Edward III., 
with a proviso that the King should direct masses 
to be said for William Danvers' soul at the Royal 
Chapel of Windsor for ever. I fear this pious 
arrangement has lapsed, and that the only eventual 
gainers by the proceeding were the Royal Family, 
for the King promptly made a provision — or part 
of a provision — for his daughter Isabella out of 
the property in question, as recorded in a Pipe 
Roll of 1360. Queen Katherine of Aragon came 
in for the estate at a later date, and so, after her, 
did Lady Jane Seymour — Queen Joan of England, 
as she is called by the chroniclers. 

A knight's fee in the parish was held early in the 
fifteenth century by a certain Richard Abberbury, 
a near relative — probably a son — of Sir Richard 
Abberbury, the guardian during his minority of 
King Richard II. Richard Abberbury the younger 
had married, about 1382, Alice, widow of Edmund 
Danvers of Chilton, and a few years later appears 
to have been living at Donnington, some four miles 



from this parish, a fine property which he sold in 
141 5 to Thomas Chaucer, who is supposed to have 
been a son of the poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. To this 
Richard Abberbury, John of Gaunt, in 1397, be- 
queathed a legacy of fifty marks, and a helmet 
which is said to have belonged to him is now in 
the Tower of London. 

When Henry VIII. dissolved the monasteries 
the Abbot of Abingdon was one of the first to 
yield to his Sovereign's command, and to give 
up the Church property in his keeping. Henry 
accordingly became possessed of a more consider- 
able property in this parish. In 1561 Queen 
Elizabeth granted the land which had been 
formerly parcel of the monastery's possessions, and 
which her "dearest father" had leased to Sir 
Thomas Parry, Kt. (Councillor and Treasurer of 
the Royal Household), to this Sir Thomas's son 
Thomas, who was himself also knighted at some 
subsequent date, and appointed Chancellor of 
the Duchy of Lancaster, Sheriff of Berks, and 
Ambassador to France. He was buried in West- 
minster Abbey in i6r6. Sir Thomas got into 
pecuniary difficulties before he died, and in 1590 
sold the reversion of his lands, after his wife's and 
his own demises, to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas 
Knyvett, of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk. In Chancery 
Bills and Answers, 1616, there is a piteous appeal 
for a provision from Sir Thomas's natural son, 
Samuel Parry, who seems to have been a con- 
siderable loser by his father's death : — 

"Whereas the said Sir Thomas Parry did keepe your 
Orator with all needful allowances of habitation, meate. 


drinke, and expenses, and did direct the course of your 
said Orator his life, that albeit he being bred in Litterature 
and very good fassion by the said Sir Thomas his direc- 
tion, did not apply himself to any profession, but Sir 
Thomas Parry said you!- Orator shold depend upon the 
honorable care of him the said Sir Thomas, your Orator 
having taken to wife a gentlewoman of good birth hath 
by her Tenn children." 

He pleads for a promised provision of ^£40 per 
annum out of the estates, but I have not succeeded 
in finding any record to prove whether he got it 
or no. 

Sir Thomas Knyvett never came into actual 
possession of the property, for he, also falling into 
debt, assigned his reversion for a good round sum 
to a vi^ealthy citizen and Lord Mayor of London 
named Sir Francis Jones, of whom the present lord 
of the manor is the representative. 

There was probably a church here from a very 
early date. The parish church until fifty years ago 
had for its north wall a portion of the old Norman 
masonry, and when this wall was taken down 
remnants of an older foundation and indications 
of burials beneath showed that there had been an 
earlier edifice on or near the spot. The tower of 
the chapel of ease exhibits to this day the 
veritable work of Saxon builders, and until com- 
paratively recently the sole means of entrance to 
it was by a doorway high up in the wall of the 
tower. A platform to support a beacon fire 
formed the topmost storey. The churchyard lies 
around the parish church, and I have calculated 
that at least twenty thousand bodies rest in that 
one small acre of ground. 


The Parish Registers are interesting reading for 
the genealogist, and are practically continuous from 
the year 1559, though entries are sparse during the 
Protectorate. The official transcribers, when copy- 
ing from the old paper books into the parchment 
volumes ordered for use from 1603 onward, have 
omitted many details which they considered trivial, 
such as burials in woollen and the like, and the 
Registers are therefore robbed of interest in this 
respect. But as a collection of names they are 
very valuable. Perhaps one of the most curious 
entries is that of a comparatively recent marriage, 
of which the following is an abstract : — 

" Richard Habgood of this Parish, Batchelor, and 
Hannah Eyles of the Parish of Speen, Widow, were 
married in this Church by Licence this Sixteenth Day of 
November in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred 
and Seventy two, by me T. Shirley, Rector." 

In the margin, in Mr. Shirley's handwriting, are 
the words " H. Snell," which in the abstract of the 
marriage register are expanded into " Han. Snell, 

Hannah Snell was a famous adventuress who 
was born at Worcester in the year 1723. In 1744 
she married a Dutch sailor named James Summs, 
but owing to his evil conduct and desertion, she 
was forced to seek her own living, and in the 
following year, under a sufficient disguise, she en- 
listed as a soldier in a regiment quartered at 
Carlisle. Not liking her companions, however, she 
deserted, and took service at Portsmouth as a 
marine, in which capacity she seems to have served 
for five years without any discovery of her sex. 


She obtained pensions from both services, and in 
1759 married a man named Eyles ; her third 
husband, whose existence is not, so far as I can 
judge, known to historians, being the Richard Hab- 
good recorded in our Registers. It is probable that 
she survived him, as she died in 1792 an inmate of 
Chelsea Hospital, where she was buried. 

Jan. 20. January is, or should be, the month 
of flowers. There are few of the best winter- 
blooming plants that cannot be had now in perfec- 
tion, though, strangely enough, it is the time of 
greatest leanness in most greenhouses. The fault 
lies with the amateur who crowds his house with 
things that bloom when flowers under gflass are not 
valuable. Something is due also to that mistaken 
economy which prevents the small amount of 
expenditure necessary for a January show — mis- 
taken, because the joy of coming into one's sitting- 
rooms from a walk or drive in snow and sleet and 
general discomfort, and finding them crammed with 
yellow daffodils, is one hardly to be matched among 
life's simpler pleasures. 

January is the time of fruition after the labours 
of three previous seasons. It is also a period of 
partial idleness, for though much planning may then 
be done, actual work, except that of the moment, 
is almost at a standstill. There are few seeds to 
be sown, little propagating except of chrysanthe- 
mums is advisable, and planting in general is at 
a standstill. Enjoyment without labour and with- 
out anxiety is so seldom within the grasp of the 
mortal that so good an opportunity for it should 
not be lightly flung aside. 


But if the time is one of fruition it is also one of 
criticism, of weeding, of ruthless sitting in judg- 
ment. Worthless varieties of bulbs have betrayed 
themselves, and a bad mark must be placed against 
their names. Plants which need more heat than 
the greenhouse can supply must be got rid of 
Others which blossom late must be noted, that due 
consideration may be given to the proportion of 
their value for winter use. A plant, for instance, 
which flowers in March is worth perhaps a tenth 
part of one which flowers in January. Unless the 
greenhouse space is practically unlimited, the former 
should make way for the latter kind of plant ; but 
it is easy enough, I find, to give oneself good 
advice, and difficult indeed to accept and to act 
upon it. Every winter I record a vow that I will 
never again grow this or that variety of bulb, and 
every summer the temptation of the growers' 
catalogues proves too strong for me. Here and 
now, for instance, I have three different kinds of 
yellow tulip in bloom ; they are Chrysolora, yellow 
Pottebakker, and Mon Tresor, and there is no 
comparison between them in point of value. The 
first comes a little smaller than the others, but in 
the amateur's hands it is infinitely superior to them 
in shape, texture, and habit. In these pages I 
register a new resolve, which is the old — that I will 
grow for the future no single yellow tulip under 
glass except Chrysolora, which is less subject to 
vicissitude and to the ravages of fly than any other, 
and generously gives me its best even in circum- 
stances which the tulip as a species dislikes so 
intensely as those attending its forcing. 


Glorious are the daffodils now in flower in my 
little greenhouse. I have tried the new poeticus 
poetarum this year, and though it has been a sad 
failure it has shown me what a beautiful thing it 
would be in happier times. It has a very delicate 
perianth with a gorgeous stained cup, and I hope 
to obtain some success with it out of doors if not 
under glass. 

But if there is a failure or two there are many 
successes, for I do not think that any other daffodils 
have cheated me of a flower. The ordinary poeticus 
ornatus is perfect, and is now in full bloom, together 
with a dozen or more other varieties. Here is a 
list of them : — 

Narcissus^ double Roman. 

N. Paper White, 

N. Poeticus ornatus. 

N. Incomparabilis. 

N. „ Bacon and Eggs. 

N. Obvallaris. 

N. Spurius. 

N. Cynosure. 

N. Figaro. 

N. Stella. 

N. Barrii conspicuus. 

N. Princeps. 

N. Horsfieldii. 

N. Rugulosus. 

N. Golden Spur. 

Of other bulbs there are blue and maize-coloured 
Italian hyacinths, grape hyacinths, including two 
beautiful new varieties, called respectively azureum 
and Heavenly Blue; scillas, snowdrops, freesias, and 
sweet jonquils. Various tulips there are also, though 
some experimental kinds must be acknowledged 


relative failures ; La Reine, however, is never d 
failure, and it is very fine this winter. There are 
other minor bulbs, all of which are pretty and some 
well worth growing, while others take up more room 
than one is justified in giving them. Of these last 
are the small hoop-petticoat narcissi, various snow- 
flakes and varieties of squills. But everyone should 
grow the white dog's-tooth vioXet—eryihronium 
citrinum is its catalogued name. The leaves are hand- 
some, faintly spotted with brown, and they stand 
up boldly round the flower stem, which bears two 
or more blossoms, creamy in colour with a yellow- 
stained centre. Several bulbs in a five-inch pot 
make a good show, and few things are prettier than 
their graceful flowers, in shape and size somewhat 
resembling those of the clematis itiontana. 

Lilies of the valley are so often a failure that a 
few words must be said about their culture. I have 
tried more than one way of forcing them, but in 
none have I been successful except in that which 
provides a great heat for them. Lilies come from 
the salesmen early in November. If the weather 
at the time is frosty, the crowns may be laid in an 
exposed position on the grass for a night or two, as 
a few degrees of cold helps them to blossom. As 
soon as they have had their baptism of frost, they 
may be potted up loosely in five-inch pots, as many 
crowns being put in as the pots will hold without 
squeezing. The tips of the crowns should stand up 
above the surface of the soil, and should be covered 
over with a good handful of moss or cocoa fibre, 
and an inverted pot placed over each pot of bulbs. 
They should then be plunged in a bottom tempera- 


ture of 80° to 90°, and the covering fibre must be 
syringed several times a day to keep the tops moist. 
If the temperature is lower than I have indicated, 
the leaves will probably not appear until the blossoms 
are over, but by forcing in a steadily high tempera- 
ture both will come together. Most persons will 
object that they cannot command so high a tempera- 
ture in an ordinary greenhouse. I used to think so 
myself until I came to make experiments. Pots on 
an open stage, standing high above the stove, will 
probably not find themselves in anything warmer 
than, perhaps, 50°, but a good plunge set closely 
over the stove and kept thoroughly moist will often 
run the thermometer up to 90° immediately above 
the greatest point of warmth. 

It is of no use, however, to attempt to force lilies 
in this temperature unless means can be taken to 
prevent their becoming dry. The roots as well as 
the tops must be kept moist by a constant applica- 
tion of the watering-pot and the syringe respectively. 
When the crowns have started about a couple of 
inches, light can be gradually admitted, until event- 
ually full exposure is permissible. 

I have been planting a new bed of lilies of the 
valley in the open this winter, after two previous 
failures on the same piece of ground. It is odd 
that very often this flower will not thrive in spots 
which appear in every respect suited to it. The 
aspect may be right, the soil perfect, the drainage 
adequate, and yet the result may be unmitigated 
failure. Three years ago I planted several hun- 
dreds of crowns in an apparently suitable spot, and 
gave them the liquid manure wliich they love as 


frequently as they were likely to require it ; for lilies 
do not care for a heavy dressing of stable stuff in 
the winter. The tips of their crowns should be 
always exposed to light and air, for they love to see 
the world all the year round, so that nourishment 
should be administered in liquid form. Having 
thus provided carefully for their wants — the more 
carefully because they were a costly new variety — 
I watched them dwindling away to nothingness 
through three seasons. The first spring there was 
a wealth of leaves ; the second there were compara- 
tively few ; the third I succeeded in counting twelve 
sprays, and never a flower worthy of the name 
throughout the whole of that time. I am willing to 
ascribe the failure to the fact that the variety was, 
as I have said, a new one, that known as Fortin's, 
so I have lately made a fresh plantation with the 
old common sort, and hope for better results with 
it. " There's a deal of deception in ahdvertyse- 
ments," as poor old Mr. Tyler used to say, and I 
cannot deny that in the matter of garden stuff I 
have been befooled by them many a time and oft. 

Jan. 22. A snap of cold weather has made me 
anxious for my standard roses, and I have tied 
wisps of bracken among their heads. The bush 
plants do not require this care, as they are carefully 
earthed up and well mulched, so that even if the 
branches die back fresh shoots will spring from the 
crowns. This hard weather has put a stop to the 
indefatigable outdoor labours of Sterculus, who is 
a miserable man in consequence. With so little 
glass as we possess his industrious soul is harassed 
by enforced idleness, though he tries hard to make 


work enough in the greenhouse to support his 
ardent spirit. He is almost as fond of potting-soils 
as of manure, and has laid in an enormous stock of 
these, which he is now turning over and preparing 
for spring use. We cut turves from a sound pasture 
every year, and lay them by, stacked in ridges, to 
mature. In autumn oak and beech leaves are 
collected, and penned in a hurdle enclosure, for the 
same purpose. When both have reached the proper 
condition, which is in not less time than a year, 
Sterculus enjoys himself, as he is doing to-day, by 
amalgamating them. Two parts of the turf mould, 
two of the leaf mould, one of material from a spent 
hotbed, and one of sharp, white sand make susten- 
ance " fit for a king," as he says. The garden 
boy is kept busy collecting moss from the nearest 
wood, and pounding up old pots to the proper size 
for drainage ; labels are being cleaned and painted, 
and everything got into order for the day when 
they will be required. 

How irritating it is to have an unmitigated 
failure ! Fond as I am of giving myself good 
advice I frequently find myself doing all kinds of 
deceitful things to persuade myself that I need not 
take it. I have often seen the beautiful Bermuda 
buttercup growing and flowering bravely in a 
friend's greenhouse in January, and while admiring 
I have said severely to myself, "You will be ex- 
tremely foolish if you spend money on any of those 
bulbs, for you know perfectly well that your green- 
house is not warm enough for them." Last year 
when looking over my catalogue I marked the 
Oxalis Bermudiana, at the same time assuring my- 


self that my notes did not mean anything, for I 
begin by marking all the plants I should like to 
have, and then winnow them down to the things 
that I must have. But when the time came for 
sending my list to the salesman in August, I found 
myself in a great hurry, and tried to think that 
I had no time to look through it and correct it. 
" Of course," said the tempter, " there are one or 
two things that you may have left in error, but 
time is valuable ; there is so much to be done. 
Better leave the list as it is. There cannot be 
more than one or two things that you did not mean 
to order." One or two ! They have seemed like 
a hundred when I found them taking up room that 
would have been better given to other plants. This 
buttercup, for instance, seems to fill a shelf itself, 
though there are only two pots of it ; but they are 
large nine -inch pots, and each contains a dozen 
tubers. The foliage is beautiful, the colour of the 
flowers perfect, but alas ! they never leave the bud 
stage, because my greenhouse is not warm enough 
for them. In March they will have a second period 
of flowering, and will be a gorgeous mass of colour, 
but I shall have outdoor things by that time, 
and these will have lost some of their value in 

The violets have flowered well, but their stems 
are getting short, so the soil round those in frames 
has been stirred, and some good old manure pricked 
in among them. When the cold snap is over and 
they yield their blooms again, they will be greatly' 
improved in consequence of this attention. Chinese 
pseonies also have been heavily top dressed with 


stable stuff and charred refuse ; they have now been 
planted for four years, and have made splendid 
clumps. The flowering of a pseony depends 
entirely upon the strength of the stool, and there 
is no plant in the garden which benefits by top 
dressing more than this. 

I have looked through all the chrysanthemum 
plants which have been turned into the frames as 
they went out of bloom, and have kept back two 
of each variety from which to propagate, consigning 
all the rest to the rubbish heap. We keep these 
stools as cool as possible, and it must be a hard 
winter that entails their being left in the green- 
house for propagating, our frames being well pro- 
tected except from severe and long-continued cold. 
The colder the young plants are kept, short of 
actual frost, the better they will be, and I can only 
recollect one winter when I lost them 'from frost- 
bite ; the following autumn the results were not 
appreciably less, for cuttings taken in February 
and March, if the early ones fail, prove quite as 
satisfactory in the end to the amateur who does 
not go in for showing. We are striking about 
four cuttings round the sides of four-inch pots; and 
as soon as the plants show signs of growth they 
will be separately potted in three-inch size, and 
given a shift as often as they require it until 
their final move in June. Seeds are being 
sown of various late-blooming things, such as snap- 
dragons, tobacco plants, dianthuses, and other 
flowers which may be wanted in the summer to 
fill gaps in the borders and carry the blossoming 
season into the autumn months. I have succeeded 


in persuading myself that an herbaceous garden, once 
planted, gives the maximum of good results with 
the minimum of labour ; but there is no denying 
that a few packets of annuals judiciously sown in 
the borders in April, and a few clumps of late 
things worked in among the early-flowering plants 
in June, are needed to ensure a succession 
throughout the summer. At the same time these 
ought to be such as would be naturally expected 
in an herbaceous border. I found myself once at 
a garden-party given by a millionaire on the other 
side of the county, and everyone was saying, ''Have 
you seen the herbaceous border? Be sure not to 
miss the herbaceous border." In the course of 
wanderings between alleys of chopped glass and 
brick and beds of calceolarias and pelargoniums, 
in the search for something that really seemed to 
live a natural life, I came suddenly upon the herb- 
aceous border. But what a border ! To be sure 
it was a blaze of colour, such as, in unregenerate 
moments, the keen gardener is apt to dream of as 
ideal. But the first feeling of surprise became in 
a moment a shock of pain, for the whole thing was 
a cry of inharmonious distress. The perennial 
things, phloxes, delphiniums, and the like were of 
the best and the most expensive, but there was not 
a plant visible that had gone out of bloom, or any 
that might be expected to come into bloom later, 
for the whole display was carefully arranged for the 
one month that his lordship chose to inhabit this 
particular house. There was a back row of dahlias 
and other tall things mixed with the phloxes, a 
middle row of cannas, tobaccos, zinnias, and 


a hundred others jostling the honest snapdragons 
and hybrid pentstemons, and in the front there blazed 
petunias, pelargoniums, stocks, marigolds, and count- 
less more varieties of tender things crowding the 
pansies and the campanulas and the funkias to their 
undeserved extinction. In the whole there was no 
repose, no nature, no suggestion of past beauty or 
coming- glow which makes the herbaceous garden 
in its natural state a real companion, with its 
promise of life and its threat of death as real as 
any of our own, and as sad or as happy. I do not 
want that sort of perennial border, but I am obliged 
to confess that a little judicious supplement in late 
spring and early summer with harmonious additions 
is necessary for the after-appearance of the garden 

Jan. 25. I have just sent off to a friend in town 
a glorious box of floAyers which might rejoice the 
heart of a misanthrope. It was one of those large 
dressmaker's boxes in which they send home gowns, 
and one feels no small degree of pride in the power 
to fill so considerable a receptacle at this time of 
year. "Very good for little people," says Sterculus, 
hugging himself with natural pride, as he sees the 
basketful of blooms of which the greenhouse is 
reft to do him honour in the metropolis, as he 
thinks. I find there is only one way of packing 
flowers to ensure their arriving in a perfectly fresh 
condition. They are cut several hours before they 
are wanted, or perhaps even overnight, and placed 
in large bowls of water, so that they may absorb all 
they can before the journey. Then the stems are 
dried, and each variety is tied up in a good-sized 


bunch with bast or soft worsted, and finally every 
bunch is closely stitched down with the yarn to the 
bottom and top and sides of the box. They touch 
each other, but do not overlap, and being firmly 
fixed and sufficiently moist to keep the life in them 
for a good many hours, they reach town as fresh as 
they left the country. 

Yesterday I saw the best arrangement of dried 
flowers which I have ever beheld, and yet it was 
done with only three varieties, and those quite com- 
mon and easy to grow, the whole secret being in 
its bold arrangement. The large jar which held 
them was of plain red earthen material, and stand- 
ing wide rather than high in it were large bunches 
of cherry lanterns and honesty, each grouped boldly 
with no suspicion of spottiness, and both connected 
and softened by sprays of statice mingled through- 
out. It had been done by a keen lover of flowers, 
and the result was perfectly good. 

I went down to dinner last night with a newly-local 
young gentleman who bored me almost to death by 
talking for an hour or more about shootin' and 
huntin'. About the time of dessert, however, when 
he had finished his say and began to cast about in 
his mind for a topic likely to interest me in return 
for my kindness in listening to him, he embarked 
upon the subjects of ethnic distribution and local 
history, and the following dialogue took place : — 

" Interestin' part of the country this, ain't it ? " 

"Very interesting; but why this part of the 
country specially ? " 

"Oh, because hist'ry began here, don tcher know; 
early colonists and that sorterthing." 



"Oh, I didn't know." 

"What! not about King Alfred? He was the first 
man that settled in England and took possession of 
these parts, don'tchersee ? There wasn't anybody 
here till he came, and it's so jolly to feel that we 
live in the oldest inhabited part of the country. 
Gives you a kinder feelin' that you've come to 
the right place, don'tcherknow." 

And until we left the dining-room he was kind 

interestin' part of the country this'' 

enough to instruct me at large upon this interesting 
topic, and I am free to admit that I enjoyed myself 

Jan. ji. I have just had a letter from Petunia 
announcing her engagement to Mr. Thomas Spencer 
Moreville, of Redlands Park, Surbiton, and Arden- 
braugh tan tinny, Inverness-shire. I am delighted that 
she is happy, but I cannot help feeling sorry for 
poor Mr. Mumby, who, as I have now begun to 
believe, has been shockingly treated. 


Feb. QTERCULUS has gone off early this 
^- \Zj morning to pay a visit to his sick sister, 
who Hves a dozen miles or more away across the 
North Downs. He dislikes holidays so much on 
principle that it is always a surprise when he con- 
sents to take one. I have the garden all to myself, 
and have raided the greenhouse and cast out into 
the void several worthless plants which no appeal 
could prevail upon him to sacrifice. I shall have a 
bad ten minutes to-morrow morning, but in the 
meantime the night's frost will have set a seal 
upon my decision and made the reinstatement of 
his favourites impossible. 

It makes one happy even to think of double 
rockets ! They are among the most valuable of 
flowers for scent and pleasant association, for they 
are real old English things, I am convinced, though 
the horticultural books assign them to Southern 
Europe and Asia. If Shakespeare did not know 
and love them I am sorry for him. But I am sure 
that there was a large patch of them in the garden 
at New Place — rockets must always be grown in 
large patches — and that he walked among them and 
enjoyed their fragrance on many a morning of May 



and June. They are always associated in my mind 
with Stratford-on-Avon, because the only week 
I have spent there was made glorious by an 
enormous bunch of them given me by a friendly 
market-gardener. It was my first acquaintance 
with the flower, and the remembrance of my huge 
posy is the only really happy one which I can 
conjure up in connection with the great poet's birth- 
place, because no one who loves him should on any 
account be persuaded to visit Stratford-on-Avon. 

There are, of course, rockets and rockets. The 
tall single ones are those most generally known, 
and sometimes one sees whole borders invaded by 
them, so easily do they propagate themselves by 
scattering their seed far and wide around them. 
These single kinds, however, are only fit for the 
wild garden. But the double rocket is worthy of 
the best place, and probably it would be more 
grown than it is if it was not rather troublesome to 
keep in stock. 

February is as good a month as any for the 
planting of rockets, though this may be done in 
the autumn with equally favourable results. The 
point to bear in mind is that at some period of its 
yearly growth root-division must be resorted to, 
for if left to itself the plant dies out and disappears. 
In consequence of this demand it has been con- 
demned as only half hardy, whereas it is in truth 
one of the hardiest thing's in the rarden. In some 
of the coldest parts of Scotland it flourishes 
amazingly, and it will flourish equally well 
wherever its idiosyncrasy is recognised and pro- 
vided for. 


When the plant has done flowering many root- 
buds push into growth, and at the time of propaga- 
tion it is necessary to divide these portions as freely 
as possible, including with each a part of the old 
root. They may be replanted on the same spot, 
each division a few inches from its neighbour, in 
well-manured soil ; and it is necessary to bear in 
mind that these things should not be spotted about 
a border, but should have a certain amount of 
ground given over solely to themselves. It may 
not be more than a square yard that can be spared, 
but however little may be appropriated to them, 
it should be given ungrudgingly, because they will 
well repay the consideration. 

In some soils the double rocket will stand for two 
years without requiring division, but in this circum- 
stance it is well in the summer to stop the sprays 
by overhead cutting back, so as to induce young 
growth from the main stem. This may also be 
done if division of the roots is contemplated. 
As the caterpillar is fond of this plant, a look-out 
should be kept for it on the young foliage, where 
it loves to seek out the heart, and to weaken 
and perhaps destroy the very point of growth. 
The best kind of double rocket to grow is the 
old dwarf white variety, with rather small, compact 

Other things rarely seen in gardens are the new 
forms of snowdrop. I suppose it is because the 
old kind is so common, and consequently new bulbs 
are seldom wanted, that the rarer ones are in- 
frequently seen amongst us. Yet the ordinary 
Galanthus nivalis is much inferior to these newer 


varieties, of which those of Elwes and Foster rank 
deservedly high. I have only tried Galanthus 
Elwesii myself, and I find it quite satisfactory, 
although it is planted in ground heavier than this 
form is said to thrive in, for it likes a liorht soil, and 
if peat can be added it is very happy indeed. My 
Elwes bulbs are flowering- well now, though the 
old kind is not yet in bloom, and with them are 
studding the grass many yellow winter aconites, 
the first harbingers of spring. Horticultural man- 
uals tell us to plant the winter aconite in good 
heavy soil, but experience teaches that the horti- 
culturist may sometimes nod, for my bulbs, which 
are planted in good old loamy ground, are never 
robust or free in their flowering, while those of a 
neighbour which are grown beneath the eaves of 
the house in dry poor soil have flowers double the 
size of mine, and long stems which make them 
unusually good for cutting — a quality rarely present 
in the winter aconite. 

There is as yet little that can be done out of 
doors, for the danger of winter's treachery is not 
yet over, and it behoves the gardener to be wary 
in his doings. This is a good time, however, to 
look through the rose trees, and to remove all wiry, 
twiggy wood, if it has not hitherto been done. In 
the case of standards this is, in my opinion, almost 
all the pruning that need be effected, but it is 
very important ; good roses will not grow on thin, 
wiry wood, and the more that is cut out the better 
will be the result. But it is not only poor wood 
that must be got rid of, but also superfluous wood, 
to let in air and light to the heart of the tree ; 


Baroness Rothschild and her sports, for instance, 
yield comparatively little thin growth, yet they 
need the knife as much as many others, because 
they grow so much wood at the heart. 

A good hedge of sweet peas has just been drilled, 
to come on in succession to those sown in Novem- 
ber. They were of mixed sorts, while these are 
all of mauve, and lilac, and purple shades, each in 
its own patch, with some good white kinds inter- 
spersed. The next sowing will be in April, when 
a hedge of pinks and reds will be grown for late 
cutting, as well as another of mixed varieties. 

I should like to re-plant the carnations which 
were not sufficiently well rooted to be taken last 
autumn from their parent stems, but the weather is 
threatening, and winter seems likely to come back 
again ; so these must wait till we are more assured 
of fair skies and genial winds, for the end of the 
month will not be too late for this purpose. And 
in the meantime I fear we shall have to resign the 
hope of spring's coming, whose promise has been 
in the air for a fortnight or more, and to get back 
to greenhouse work, for the thermometer has fallen 
twenty degrees since yesterday, and there is every 
reason to fear a gale of snow and raging wind. 

" Blow, blow, thou winter wind. 
Thou art not so unkind 
As man's ingratitude," 

for at the first taste of spring the gardener hastens 
to leave the sheltering greenhouse which has pro- 
vided blossoms in abundance for several months, 
and to seek his treasure in the open, grudging 
every hour that has to be spent under a roof. Yet 


the greenhouse is still gay with things of far greater 
beauty than could by dint of any effort be found 
outside it. Nearly all the flowers that made Jan- 
uary bright are still growing there, and it is only 
that the natural impatience of the human finds it 
irksome to bestow labour on the old, well-known 
plants. Perhaps it is because the time of its 
greatest usefulness is drawing- to an end, and when 
March conies in we shall depend for but few of our 
joys on its sheltering care. Even now seed-pans 
are jostling the growing pots, and the signs of the 
time of propagation which is beginning for the en- 
suing summer without, and for the following winter 
within doors, are everywhere visible to the eye. 
For February is the natural end of the year, being 
the time of the completion of winter's promise as 
well as that of the reiteration of summer's. Old 
things pass away, and all things become new. 

But although the time is approaching when the 
greenhouse will hardly be a recognised factor in the 
providing of the bulk of our flowers, yet there are 
always wanted a certain number of pot plants for 
the house, or to furnish a cold greenhouse if one 
there is. The aim of the amateur, as I have con- 
stantly iterated, is or should be to provide for the 
summer season with things which do not take up 
much room in winter on the stages and shelves. 
From March to June the main supply for this 
purpose may be the show pelargonium ; and from 
June to October begonias, achimenes, and gloxinias, 
which have been laid on their sides on the green- 
house floor for several months, together with various 
annuals suited to pot culture, which may now 


be sown. The pelargoniums have been crowded 
unduly, yet not greatly to their hurt, first in cold 
frames, and later in a light part of the greenhouse ; 
but now they are given the best place, and are 
treated as honoured guests. They are separated 
out and regarded as individuals, and, if necessary, 
are repotted without disturbance of the ball, and 
presently buds will appear, the plants will expand 
generally, and good results will follow. One of 
mine which, last year, received this necessarily 
inadequate consideration in the early part of the 
winter became later as good a plant as ever I 
beheld, with nineteen large trusses adorning it, and 
the others were not far behind. 

To associate with these in the spring there will 
be some belated primulas and zonal pelargoniums, 
with a Harris lily or two, so that I may consider 
the house provided for until the first days of 
summer, and now is the time to make provision for 
a succession. The tuberous begonias have to be 
looked over, and any which show signs of growth 
are knocked out of their soil and planted either in 
boxes or separately in three-inch pots, in either case 
to be repotted later. It is necessary to recollect 
that the top of the corm must not be buried. 
Moreover, nearly all begonias after their winter 
rest are hollow-crowned, and in watering care must 
be taken that this hollow is not filled with water, or 
the bulb will rot. 

Achimenes and gloxinias may be started in 
succession to the begonias, but as they like rather 
more warmth, it is well, if the house is now kept 
cooler than in the early winter, to wait until the 



garden hotbed is made up, and to bring them on 
with its aid. 

Feb. J. Sterculus did not come home last night, 
and this morning the whole village has been anxious 
about him. But about midday he stumbled with 
uncertain steps into his kitchen, where Mrs. Sterculus 
was recounting to me the various deaths she had 


heard of in the snows of past winters. He flung 
his hat on the table and sank into the nearest chair 
without a greeting to either of us. 

" Lor', what ails you ? " cried Mrs. Sterculus, and 
at the question the poor man's hair stood upright 
on his head, a phenomenon I have often heard of, 
but never before witnessed. We stayed him with 


stimulants and comforted him with strong broth, 
and after a few hours' rest on the ancestral couch, 
which is the glory of his kitchen, he felt sufficiently 
restored to tell his tale. He has just been sitting 
on the edge of one of Jim's study chairs recounting 
the terrible experience of the night. 

It appears that he left his sister's house about 
twilight yesterday for the long walk home, which 
lay first across a corner of the downs, and after- 
wards by more familiar roads along the valley. 
The snow, which had threatened for days, was 
falling thickly, and he had some difficulty in finding 
his way. When he had been walking for about 
two hours, and had not yet left the high ground, he 
knew that he had lost himself, so he pulled up 
suddenly, and then continued to walk onward be- 
cause no other course was open to him. It would 
have been folly to go back, ignorant as he was of 
his whereabouts. But he began to feel nervous, 
for he is no braver in the dark than other Wessex 
men, and he goes in sore fear of the unknown. 

He felt the ground before him with his stick at 
every step, for he knew there were treacherous 
hollows on these uplands into which he might fall 
and lie without discovery until the returning spring. 
His relief was great when he was brought up after 
a time by a fence, of which his blackthorn gave 
him warning. He followed the fence until its 
circumference was broken by a small wicket gate, 
through which he entered, and found himself walk- 
ing up the narrow path of a cottage garden. 

He knocked at the door of the cottage, but no 
one answered. Then he made snowballs, and 





directed them at imaginary upper windows, and 
presently he rejoiced when he detected by the 
sound of broken glass that a missile had reached 
its goal. A light appeared through the curtain, 
and in answer to his shouting he heard feet 
clumping down the stairs. The bolts of the door 
were drawn by an aged man. 

"Ask your pardon," said Sterculus. 

The man only looked at him. He was a shock- 
headed creature with wild, bloodshot eyes, low of 
stature, and shaking with palsy. When he had 
satisfied his curiosity about his disturber he tried 
to shut the door again, but Sterculus had put his 
hob -nailed boot against it. The shock -headed 
man exploded in fits of cackling laughter, and 
shuffled upstairs with his candle, leaving Sterculus 
to enter or not as he would. It was a choice 
between a night in the open or the company of an 
imbecile, and he made the only decision possible. 
He stepped inside, bolted the door, lighted himself 
to the living-room with a match, and sat down in 
the elbow-chair by the fireside. There were a 
few live embers, and he drew them together and 
fell asleep over them, impelled by sheer exhaus- 

He awoke with a start, not knowing how long 
he had slept, and it was some moments before he 
realised his position. The hearth was black, but 
the room was illumined by a light not of earth — 
a light diffused dimly and equally through the 
kitchen. By his chair there stood a tall figure clad 
in garments such as his own grandfather had worn 
fifty years ago. The face was pale and stern, and 


even in his terror Sterculus was aware that the 
form which stood over him was not a substantial 
one, for through and beyond it there shone the 
weird blue light of another world. He would have 
stood up like a man to any human intruder, but this 
ghostly visitor knocked him completely out of time, 
and he fell to his knees, crying — 

" Oh, Mr. Ghost, don't 'ee hurt I ! " 

His hair stood upright again on his head at the 
reminiscence, and he continued his story in trem- 
bling accents, and with that resort to the vernacular 
which distinguishes him when he is much agitated. 

" ' Rise ! ' says the ghost, ' rise ! ' a says, an' I 
stood 'pright on my feet. 

"' Be you afeard on ma?' a axed in a tarrifyin' 

" 'No, sir,' says I, but I 'lows my own voice he 
trembled a good un. 

" ' Will you listen to my tale ? ' a says. 

" ' I'd liefer not, sir,' says I. 

"'Why not?' a bellocks fit to bring the house 

" ' I dunno,' says I, glutchin' in ma throat an' 
martly frowtened. 

" ' Hark ! ' says the ghost, wi' a cold forefinger 
on my wrist. ' By all you holds sacred hearken to 
ma. Do 'ee feel like as if 'ee was goin' to swoon?' 

" ' No, Mr. Ghost,' I says, ' I wasn't never one to 
swoon, not like my brother Meshach.' 

That is well,' a says, ' fer if you swoons I must 

"I wished then as I was a swoonder, but I knowed 
'twas no good to try actin' on't wi' a ghost, so I set 



there a-hearkenin' to his scroopittin' voice, wi' a 
gnawin' in my innards as made my heart quop like 
an old pump. You minds, ma'am, how our garden 
pump quops since he was froze laist winter?" 

"oh, MR. GHOST, DOn't 'EE HURT I !" 

I remember very well. Sterculus reminds me 
of its ailment about once a week, being desirous of 
a new one. 

" Listen ! " said the ghost. " For fifty years I 
have haunted this cottage, ever in the hope that 
I might compel someone to hearken to my story. 


I lived here and died here, and I have appeared 
to every person who has lived in this house ; but 
they have been but two or three, and I could not 
make them understand. When that old man came, 
forty years ago, I rejoiced ; but, alas ! he was not 
only deaf, but foolish. In the one hour that I am 
nighdy permitted to appear I touch him, and he 
opens his eyes and sees in the room my spirit light. 
He says, ' Darn that there moon ! ' and turns on his 
side and sleeps again. But now you are here, and 
I can rid me of my secret. I am a robber and a 

"Oh no, Mr. Ghost, don't 'ee say that," cried 

" Listen. There was a man of Oldborough who 
owned a flock of sheep. He came to Ilsley Fair 
across these downs, and sold them for a good price. 
Sheep were worth money in those days. He drank 
at half a dozen inns before he left the village. 
What wonder, then, that he lost his way on 
these downs, that he came hither to my house, 
that I saw his money while he slept his drunken 
sleep, and that I killed him ? Do you blame me 
for it ? " 

" I d-dunno, sir," mumbled Sterculus. 

" 1 got rid of the body, but I was afraid of the 
money. Look out of the window ; you will see a 
pile of stones on the ridge, and near it a thorn tree 
grows. Under that thorn the gold is buried. Cut 
down the tree, dig up the money, take it for your- 
self, and live like a gentleman. ' Live like a gentle- 
man, an' lie on a sofa fer the rest of your life,' says 
he," concluded Sterculus, "an' then a went. I 


couldn't see the manner on't ; all I can swear to is 
that a went. 

" I ups an' outs to the shed, an' got an axe an' a 
peck an' spade, fer the marnin' was breakin' by then. 
The snow'd disappeared like a merracle, an' the 
ofround under the tree was all of a mash, so I 
knowed 'twas a real ghost as had made it ready fer 
ma. But first I had to cut down the thorn tree, an' 
I set to wi' a will, bein' amindted to get the money 
an' set out fer home. But when I laid the axe 
athurt the stem I knowed 'twas bewitched. It 
weren't a fellin' sound as that there axe made ; it 
rang like as if 'twas iron it was meetin'. Then I 
knowed that the ghost had been a-gammuttin' on 
ma, and that I shouldn't never see that gold. An' 
sure 'nough, wi'out a word o' warnin', he catched 
ma up, an' swep' ma back to the cottage an' in at 
winder, an' left ma belabourin' the kitchen kettle 
wi' the poker." 

"But where was the axe?" asked Jim, with a 
grave face. 

" He'd a-changed it into a poker." 

" But isn't it possible that you dreamt it all } 
You woke up from a bad dream and found the 
poker in your hand." 

" 'Twas worse'n that," said Sterculus ; " it weren't 
on'y that he'd 'chanted me an' the axe too ; he dood 
worse'n that." 

" What did he do ? " 

"There was a hole in the kettle's side, an' the 
water all a-runnin' on to the floor. It fair mammered 
ma. I knowed what I'd ha' done to arra man as 
treated my kettle like that ; an' I wouldn't stop to 


face the old shacket upstairs as mightn't see 'twas 
a ghostie's doin'. I took an' run, an' I runned 
a'most till I got home. If Sarah wants to see ma 
again she must come yer ; I wouldn't go anighst 
that there cottage no more not fer all the sisters as 
ever was. Nor for all the missuses neether," he 
added, as an after-thought. But whether it was of 
Mrs. Sterculus that he was thinking or of myself, 
who for weeks had urged him to visit the bed-ridden 
Sarah, I have no means of judging. 

I am certain only of one thing. So long as 
Sterculus lives he will believe that he saw a ghost 
in that lonely cottage, and he will bring as in- 
disputable evidence the tale of the blue spirit light 
that shone in the kitchen, and the incident of the 
axe changed by enchantment into a poker. And 
these evidences will be sufficient to prove his case 
to his rustic hearers. There was less proof than 
this for the appearance of Daddy King's ghost in 
our lane near by, and nobody would dream of casting 
any doubt upon the story of its manifestation. 

Feb. 7. I am rather ashamed to confess it, after 
my good advice to myself about crowding the 
greenhouse shelves through the winter with plants 
which do not bloom until spring, but one of my 
chief joys for the near future is a collection of pots 
of the lovely stock Mauve Beauty, which, from 
seed sown in July in five-inch pots, and thinned 
to four plants in each, is now a picture of colour 
as well as delightful in scent. And, after all, it 
was not for long that they occupied the stage 
before they began to show bud, for the winter 
was so mild that they had cold-frame treatment 


until after Christmas, and are all the better for it. 
When they go out of flower they will be planted 
in the borders, and after they have recovered 
themselves a little they will begin again to bloom, 
and will continue decorative all throuofh the 
summer. So I am able without much effort to 
persuade myself that it was right to grow them, 
for they give better and longer results than almost 
any other plants of my acquaintance. 

Another thing which is at its best is the spirea 
longifolia, which also for a time received cold-frame 
treatment, and is now a mass of feathery whiteness. 
It will last in good condition in the drawing-room 
for six weeks or more, and is a great improvement 
on the older forms of this plant. My cyclamens 
are an unmitigated failure, as they never show a 
a mass of blooms at one time, and although some- 
thing may be attributed to incorrect treatment last 
summer, I am inclined to think that the corms are 
getting too old to give the best results, and I shall 
buy some fresh seedlings from a good strain next 

Most persons are fond of dahlias and salvia 
patens, and it will soon be time to propagate these, 
if the stock is to be increased. If the roots are 
started in heat they will throw up cuttings which 
will be good flowering plants next summer. The 
old stools have been kept through the winter in 
the cellar. The gathering together of plants and 
bulbs from various places of safety in the spring, 
by a gardener who is short of glasshouse room, 
partakes of the nature of the prophetic gathering 
together of the dry bones of Scripture. They 


come from all corners and nooks of vantage, from 
loft and shed and cellar and attic, and from beneath 
the greenhouse stage, and when the congestion 
of the house begins to be somewhat relieved they 
are given prominent places and made much of, 
as though they had never been ruthlessly con- 
demned to exile ; and they are so longsuffering 
and kind that they behave as though they had been 
treated in most grenerous fashion, and withhold none 
of their beauties for our punishment as they might 
so easily do. 

If the asparagus nanus is required for cutting 
next winter, it should now be given a respite from 
the scissors, for it is throwing out new frond-spikes 
in abundance. When Sterculus first came to us 
he was quite ignorant of the culture of flowers, 
and for one or two winters I found that these new 
fronds were conspicuous by their reluctance to 
appear, as it seemed. It turned out that he had 
cut them off with the greatest assiduity and care 
as soon as they grew above the old foliage, thinking 
the twiggy growths untidy and obtrusive beyond 
their due. He is now sowing Marguerite carna- 
tions and Chinese pinks, which, as soon as they have 
germinated, will, if the weather permits, be moved 
to a cold frame, for it does not suit them to remain 
in heat after top growth has shown itself, or their 
constitution becomes weakened. The dianthuses 
will fill gaps in the herbaceous borders for autumn 
blooming, while the carnations will occupy a reserve 
bed near the kitchen garden for cutting. Other 
seeds there are which have soon to be sown, such 
as petunias, tobaccos, verbenas, and marigolds ; 


and the propagation of chrysanthemums goes on 

apace, for the cuttings raised now will probably 

be our best when autumn comes. They will be 

good strong plants without a suspicion of drawing, 

for their treatment will be entirely on the cold 


" February fill dyke 
Either with black or white." 

Feb. 14. So the old saw goes, and this year 
it is with deep white snow that our ditches are to 
be filled and our springs replenished. It has come 
suddenly, and the birds, misled by the winter's early 
mildness, have kept no store of berries to sustain 
them in days of famine. They come round the 
house in whirling crowds, begging for relief which 
is freely given them, and showing their gratitude 
by increasing confidence and friendliness. It is 
amusing to watch them every morning when the 
bird-table and tray have been laden with good things, 
and the giver has retired and left them to the feast. 

The table happens to be placed on part of the 
property belonging to the robin who lives under 
the elm tree, and he takes a proprietary interest in 
it apart from his appreciation of the food upon it. 
I believe that every robin in a garden has a portion 
of ground which he regards as his particular 
preserve. This is undoubtedly the case with 
our little birds. When crumbs are placed on the 
table the robin of the elm tree flies down to it, and 
walks round in a menacing way. Sparrows may 
come and eat, but no other robins may approach ; 
if any is foolhardy enough to do so, he is driven 
away with vicious pecks and dashes. Presently, 


when he has asserted himself in what he considers 
an adequate manner, the robin of the elm tree eats 
his breakfast and retires to his hiding place in the 
hedge, and the robins of the holly tree and of the 
apple tree are allowed to satisfy their natural 
craving for food. This routine is invariable, and 
the consequence is that the elm-tree bird has been 
fat and well-liking throughout the winter, while his 
poorer relatives have a seedy appearance, due 
partly to only half-appeased hunger, and partly to 
some loss of natural dignity arising through 
persecution. For the chief characteristic of the 
robin is personal pride and vainglory. He will 
not associate with robins in a walk of life different 
from his own. He loves the neighbourhood of 
human beings, whom, doubtless, he considers fit 
associates for his important little self, and I have 
known a robin who never failed to fly out from the 
hedge and welcome me whenever I came in from 
my daily walk. But other robins he dislikes and 
distrusts in the same way that an Englishman 
abroad dislikes and distrusts all Englishmen he 
meets, while holding out the hand of fellowship 
to persons of a nationality other than his own. 
" I hate to be mixed up with that holly-tree fellow," 
says the elm-tree robin as plainly as possible to his 
human friends ; and the holly-tree fellow knows 
it well, and takes a small satisfaction by despising 
the apple-tree fellow who lives in the kitchen 
garden, and is in consequence a mere rustic, and 
of no account whatever in the more aristocratic 
circles of the robin world. 

Before the smaller birds have finished their meal 



there is audible a great fluttering of heavy winws, 
and the sentinel starling has brought his relations 
to the feast. The starlings have not packed this 
winter — nor indeed for the last three or four winters 
— but are still living in the neighbourhood of houses 
after their summer fashion. Doubtless they know 
better than we do when a mild season is coming, 
and will not trouble themselves to change their 
quarters except in times of necessity. They live in 
holes in the thatch, and sometimes on a mild January 


morning they choose to pretend that they are black- 
birds, and wake us with a descant only a little less 
beautiful than the blackbird's note. When they fly 
down to their breakfast they do not disturb the 
sparrows ; but the robins will not consent to eat in 
their company, and retire sullenly to their dens, 
whence their bright eyes watch the intruders in 
jealous impatience. Then the blackbirds hurry up at 
the last moment to get what remnants they can find ; 
a tomtit or two and a bullfinch join them in nervous 
dread of the consequences, and a solitary thrush 


hovers near to snatch the crumbs which the wasteful 
starHngs have scattered far and wide. I believe it 
is said that the blackbirds are driving the thrushes 
out of gardens, and it is certainly true that every 
year the thrushes are fewer and their song is rarer. 
Probably within a measurable distance of time we 
shall make excursions into the fields to listen to 
them by day, as we do now to hear the nightin- 
gale on a warm night in May. 

And lastly to the scene of the feast come the 
rooks, though not to eat. They circle high above 
the table, not daring to approach the house, and 
they perch in neighbouring trees, cawing mournfully 
for the joys which cannot be theirs. Sad it is to 
look into happiness through another bird's eyes, 
and this sadness seems ever the portion of the rook 
colony, which flies a long distance only to behold a 
feast devoured by lesser, bolder birds. But there 
are turnips yet to be had in the fields, and the 
winter will not be a long one, for the starlings have 
told us so ; and presently the rooks will have it all 
their own way, and will make the world noisy with 
their clamorous family life. For the twigs of the 
wych elms are big with purple knobs, and the 
earliest snowdrops are pushing bravely through the 
snow, and the honeysuckles are bursting into gay, 
green leaf, and the heart of Nature is throbbing 
beneath her winter garment. And presently she 
will awake from her long sleep, refreshed and ready 
for new efforts of beauty and tenderness ; and the 
flowers — her children — will lie in her lap, rejoicing 
because spring has given them life again. 

Perhaps, after all, the portion of the watching 



rooks is not all unhappiness or envy. Who knows 
that they do not take pleasure in the plenty of other 
birds more fortunate than themselves? Why should 
the best virtues be attributed only to the human, 
and denied to the lower animal creation ? Happi- 
ness must always be beautiful to look on, wherever 
it may be. 

Yet the happiness of those we love is so sacred 
that it may hardly be dwelt upon. Since yesterday 
it has been my part to dwell beneath the same roof 
with a man who indeed says nothing, or almost 
nothing, about a great felicity that is his after many 
days of anxious fear and hope, but whose joy-lit 
eyes betray his happiness. And Magdalen comes 
and whispers in a broken voice, and tells me how 
she loved him but feared that he would never 
speak, until a chance word, a touch unlooked for, 
swept away pride's barrier and loosed his tongue, 
and in a moment came paradise. Even one of 
life's onlookers may feel strangely moved at the 
sight of such happiness as theirs. 


Abol syringe, 70 
Achimenes, 187-91, 295 
Aconite, winter, 293 

what soil to plant in, 293 

Ageratum, 25, 144 
"Agricultural depression," 259 
Alfred, King, 289 
Alkanet, blue, 94 

— Italian, 98 
Allium, white, 181 
Alstromeria, yellow, 119 
Amaryllids, 9 

Anacharis, abnormal appearance 

of, 229 
Anchusa italica, 94, 98 
,'And I'm not loving you now," 

Anecdotes of dogs, 154 
garden boys, 43 

— — a new-comer, 288 

parsons, 134, 198, 255 

a porter, 196 

a Roman coin, 271 

Anemones, 5 

— crown, 29 

— fulgens, 222 

• — and standard roses, 30 
Angler, the Compleat, 202 
Animals, The Colours of, 236 
Annuals, autumn-sown, 154 

— thinning of, 69 

Ant, the leaf-cutting, 239 
Antirrhinum, loi, 148, 219 

— snow queen, 148 
Aphis, 70 

Aquilegia, 33 
Arabis albida, 27 
Artillery plants, 9 
Arums, 187, 253 
Ashes, detrimental, 173 
Asparagus fern, dwarf, 187 
Asphodels, 5 
Asters, 145 

— herbaceous, 33 
Auricula, 92 
Avens, water, 73 

— scarlet, 98 
Azaleas, 189 

Balsam, 10 
Basil, 197 

— poems by, 225 

Baskets, hanging, plants for, 75, 

Beasts, mimicry of, 234 

Bedding plants, not kept in green- 
house, 188 

Beds, to improve, 80 

Begonias, 38, 187, 191, 221, 253, 

— tuberous, 296 
Berberis, 7 

Bethlehem, star of, 6, 100 
Birds, feeding the, 310 
Blackbirds, 309 
Bluebells, in 

Book, my first, 203 
Borage, 98 
Botrytis cinerea, 75 
Bouncing Bet, 78 




Bouvardia, 189 
Bracken, how useful, 13 
Broom, i 
Buds, chrysanthemum, 152 

— crown, 153 

— retaining of, 152 

— terminal, 152 
Budding, 130 

Bulbs, arrangement, of for rooms, 

Bulbs, cheapness of many, 171 

— hints to ensure success, 174 

— in plunge, 176 

— mainstay of the winter garden, 

— more expensive. 178 

— potting soil for, 172 

— proportion of yearly expendi- 
ture on, 171 

— treatment of, when finished 
flowering, 182 

— what selection to obtain for a 
guinea, 178 

— when to plant out, 176 

— worthless varieties noted, 278 
Bulbous saxifrage, 73 
Bullfinch, 309 

Buttercup, Bermuda, 283 

Cacti, 187 

Caddis worms, 230 

Calceolarias, 163, 286 

— cuttings of, 164 

— how to plant out, 164 

— require shade, 164 
Calendula officinalis, 206 
Caliban, 88 

Calla, 190 

Calla Richardias, 172, 183, 253 
Callas, yellow, 9 

Camberwell Cadger, the Con- 
verted, 158 
Campanula, 287 

— chimney, 36 

— cup and saucer, 36 

Camp, Roman, tradition of, 27 1 
Candytuft, Dobbie's, 81, 154 

Cannas, 149, 286 
Canterbury bells, 8, 94, 98 
"Cap in shreds, a," 157 
Carnations, layering of, 130, 132 

— Margaret, Ii6j2i9 
when to sow, 306 

— replanting of, 294 

— thinning of, 115 
Caterpillars that imitate snakes, 

Caterpillar, the geometer, 229 
Cerura vinula, 239 
" Chant outside the window, the," 

Cherry lanterns, 288 
Child, the modern, 223 
Chinese pinks, when to sow, 306 
" Choir-boys," 135 
Christine, the Sorrows of, 203 
Christmas roses, 187,209,221,253 

to replant, 71 

Chrysanthemums, 172, 187, 190, 



— Carnot, Madame, 220 

— Davis, Charles, 219 

— Golden Gate, 220 

— Gruyer, Monsieur, 220 

— Mease, Mrs., 220 

— Pearson, R. H., 220 

— Phcebus, 220 

— Silver Cloud, 220 

— Viviand Morel, 219 

— Warren, G. J., 220 

— number of blooms desirable, 

— propagation of, 277, 307 
Church, the, 275 

Cinerarias, 38, 113, 114, 173, 187, 

190, 244, 246, 252 
Clarkia, 82, 146 
Cletnatis languinosa, 96 

— Lady Caroline Neville, 96 

— moniana, 280 

— combined with pinks, 96 
Clifford, Magdalen, 112, 113, 169, 

" Climbing roses," 93 



Colour in borders, choice of, 95 
Columbine, 6, 98 

— reversion to primitive type, 208 
Comfrey, 98 

Cojnmelina celestis, 25, 144, 145, 

Commons and heaths, 137 

cultivation of, by monks, 138 

Coot, 55 

Coreopsis grandiflora, 95, 207, 219 

— lanceolata, 208, 219 

— whether true perennials, 208 
Cosmos, 144 

" Cottage and annexe," 1 5 
Cottage Hospital, Oldborough, 

Cowslips, 74 
Crambe cordifolia, 99 
Crinum longifolium, 9 
Crocuses, 27, 222 

— how to grow, 1 76 

— Mont Blanc, 176 
Cuckoo, the, 48 

— day, 27 

— eggs of the, 54 
— ■ flowers, 74 

— Milton's opinion of the, 59 

— nests, varieties of, used, 49 
" Cuckoo, the," 58 

" Cuckoo, young, ejecting his 

foster-brethren," 53 
Cunnigaw Hill, 242 
Curate, the, 134 

— the new, 198 

Cuttings of fibrous -rooted be- 
gonias, 38 

pelargoniums, 92 

zonal, II, 191 

rose, 162 

how and when to make, 


all kinds 163 

Cyclamens, 35, 36, 172, 186, 187, 
190, 253, 305 

— Persian, 151 

— how to treat, 152 
Cytisus, 190 

Daddy King's ghost, 272 

tradition of, 272 

"Dafifodils in the wild garden," 32 
Daffodils, list of {vide Narcissi) 

— 28, 31, 32, 171, 279 

Dahlia, 13, 14, 115, 149, 219, 222, 

— when to propagate, 305 
Daisies, double white, 193 

— Michaelmas, 206 

— ox-eyed, 74 

— red, 34 
Daniel, 124 
Danvers, William, 273 
Darwinism, 241 

Day of the Unconquered Sun, the, 

Delphinium, 115, 286 
Dianthus, 306 

— chinensis, 92, 146 

— deltoides, 72 

— when sown, 285 
DoWs-house, Ibsen's, 226 
Doronicum, 98 

— Harpur Crewe, yj 

— yellow, 33, 77 

" Doronicums in agrassy place," 34 
Dried flowers, arrangement of, 

"Ducks and hens, and a pig or 

two," 69 
" Dungin' time," 221 

" Eats all the blooms he can 

reach," 118 
Echinops ritro, 149 
Editha, 272 

Elms, wych, 310 
Enclosure Acts, 143 
Erigeron, 115 

Eryngium Oliverianum, 149 
Eryihronium citrinum, 280 
Eschscholtzia, selection of colours, 


— mandarin, 148 

"Evening primroses in the 

garden," 119 


ccnothera biennis, 120 

speciosa, 120 

— taraxacifolia, 120 

Yotingii, 120 

" Everywhere there are 

bulbs," 3 
Expenditure, hints on, 17 





"Fat bacon-pig, the," 216 
February fill dyke, 307 
Ferns, 34 

— adder's-tongue, y^i 

— asparagus, dwarf, 187 

— grown with bulbs, 34 
Fertiliser, Clay's, 174 
Flax, blue, 98 

Flowers, cut, to obtain, from 
October to March, 188 

— how to pack, 287 

— yellow, 95 
Folk land, 143 

" Folk land, remnants of," 141 
Foresight, necessary, 206 
Forget-me-not, 6, 193 
Foxglove, 2, 5, 98 

— yellow, 6 

Frames, cleaning of, 183 

— contents of, 187 

— substitute for, 14 

Freesia, 150, 151, 187, 190, 246, 

— how to treat, 1 5 1 

— when to plant, 150 
Fritillary, 6, 38 
Fuchsias, 187, 189 
Fumigator, X-L All, the best, 175 
Funkia grandiflora, 119 

— 287 

Gaillardia, 94 
Galanthus Elwesii, 

— Forsteri, ig^ 

— nivalis, 292 
Gamli Norg^, 205 


Garden thai I Love, 106 
Gardeners, 17 
Gardening, books on, loi 
Geraniums, 11, 244, 246 
Geum, 72 

— chiloense, 78 

— miniatian, 78 
Gladioli, 26, 38, 149, 222 
Gloire de Lorraine, 253 
Gloxinias, 187, 191, 295, 296 
Godetia, 82, 146 

Good old days, the, 258 

Good Words for the Young, 205 

Grass, 24, 77 

— best method to plant in, 5 

— flowers suitable to plant in, 98 
Grasshoppers, 239 
Greenhouse, 186 

— heating of, 186, 223 

— size and arrangement of, 186 
, — small, plants to select in, 246 
" Griskin, Mr., the butcher," 195 
Gypsophila panicidata, 1 49 

Hanging baskets, plants for, 75, 

Hannah Snell, 276 
Happiness, pleasure to watch, 

" Happy Jack," 269 
Harris lilies, 174, 296 

hints on treatment of, 175 

" Haymaking," 99 

Heather, i 

" Height of a sha-a-ft, the," 122 

" He sank into the nearest chair," 

Heliotrope, 150 
Herald Moth, the, 231 
Herbaceous garden, 286 
Hollyhock, 102 
Holly, sea, 92 
Honesty, 288 
Honeysuckle, 310 
Hornet, 238 

— clear-winged moth, 238 
Hyacinth, 28, 29, 279 



Hyacinth, azureum, 279 

— children's miniature, 179 

— Dutch, 178 

— grape, 279 

— General Havelock, 34 

— Heavenly Blue grape, 279 

— Italian, 32, 182, 279 

— Lord Derby, 34 

— Roman, 172, 181, 221, 244 

— Spanish, 6 

— the white wood, 74 
Hyacinths and narcissi, combina- 
tion of, 34 

Hygrometer, 99 

Iris, 72 

— foetida, 149 

— laevigata, 9 

— Spanish, 100, 120, 209 
Ivy-leaved pelargonium, 189 
" In ma pawket," 133 

" Interestin' part of the country 

this," 289 
" Intruder, an," 77 
"Is it me you want to see?" 213 
" I've figured it all out," 23 
" I've seen a pig in a garden," 21 

"Janniveer," 221 
"Jerry-builder, the," 78 
Jervis, Mr., 167, 234 
Jim, 14, 39, 60, 112, 154, 169, 193, 

Jonquil, 178 

Ladybird, 238 

Laing, Mrs. John, 116 

Lammas Day, 137 

Larkspur, 8 

Laurel, 7 

" Lean countryman, a," 86 

" Learned entomologist," a, 235 

Lilacs, 91 

Lilies, Madonna, 75, 100, 116 

when to transplant, 153 

Lilium candidum, 153 
Linum narbonnense, 94 

Lily, arum, 187 

— of the valley, 280 

Fortin s, 282 

Lobelia, blue, 75 
London pride, 73 
Lungwort, 4 

Lupin, perennial, 33, 98 

— yellow tree, 97 
" Lydia Die," 39 

Magdalen, 112, 169, 247, 311 
"Maid Marian and Friar Tuck," 

Manure water, 252 
Maria, 124 
Marigold, 145, 287, 306 

— Legion of Honour, 145 

— orange pot, 206 

May Day, celebration of, 60 
"May I. C. U. home, my dear.?" 

Meconopsis wallachn, 9 
Meshach, 199 
Meshach's mother, 200 

— treasure, 211 

Mice, how to circumvent, 221 
Mignonette, how to sow, 208 
Morning feast, the, 309 
Morina, 80 
Moulton, Mr., 226 
Mountain snow, 27 
" Moving orator, a,'' 159 
Mumby, Mr., 234 
Mummers, 261 

— play, 262 
Muscaris, 181, 253, 279 

" My cousin, Mr. Jervis," 167 
" My name is Mister Gray," 267 

Nancy, 248 

Narcissi, list of, 177, 279 

Narcissus, Bazelman Major, 177 

— Bulbocodium, 180 

— Cynosure, 27, 31, 171, 279 

— Double Roman, 174, 187, 221, 
245. 253, 279 

— Emperor, 180 



Narcissus, Figaro, 31, 180, 279 

— Golden Spur, 180, 279 

— Grand Monarque, 177 

— Hoop Petticoat, 180 

— Horsefieldii, 180, 279 

— Incomparabilisi 178, 279 
Bacon and Eggs, 279 

— Johnstoni Queen of Spain, 

— Leedsii Amabilis, 178 

— Mont Cenis, 178 

— Mrs. Langtry, 180 

— Obvallaris, 279 

— Orange Phoenix, 34, 178 

— paper white, 173, 187, 221, 

— Poeticus Ornatus, 178, 279 

— Polyanthus, 177 

— Princeps, 279 

— Rugulosus, 279 

— Spurius, 279 

— Stella, 279 

— Sulphur Phoenix, 179 

— Van Sion, 178 
Narcissus, easily grown, 179 
Natural protection of insects, 

Nemesia Strumosa Suttoni, 144 
Nightingales, 80, 310 
"Nightingale, the," 81 
"Night-jar, the," 51 
" Not from their moother," 125 

(Enothera biennis, 120 

— speciosa, 120 

— taraxacifolia, 80, 120 

— Youngii, 120 

" Oh, Mr. Ghost, don't 'ee hurt I !" 

Orchids, 74 

Oxalis Bermudiana, 283 
Ox-eyed daisy, the, 74 

Pseonies, Chinese, 284 

— European, 2 
Pansies, 91, 207 

— maize-coloured, 144 

Pansies, tufted, 95 

— white, 143 

Parishioners, rights of, 139 
Parish, the, 272 

— registers, 276 
Pelargoniums, 92, 149, 286, 295 

— fancy, 187, 191 

— ivy, 75 

— zonal, II, 38, 172, 187, 189, 190, 
221, 243, 296 

varieties of, Jacoby, 191 

— Lucr^ce, 191 

Mikado, 191 

Nicholas II., 191 

Puritan, 191 

Sunbeam, 191 

Volcanic, 191 

Pentstemon, 165 

— barbatus, Torreyi, 219 

— cyananihus, 96 
— - hybrid, 165, 287 

— Jaffrayanus, 96 

— procerus, 95 
Perennials, hardy, 98 
Petunia, 82, 169, 226, 254, 289 
" Petunia," 83 

Petunias, 25, 144, 191, 287, 306 

— pink, 143 

Phacelia campanularia, 144, 147 
Phlox, 91, 286 

— Drummondi, 144, 219 
Physahs, 149 

Pinks, 91 

— Chinese, 92, 306 

— pheasant-eye, 98 

Plants cleaned for winter, 1 84 

— stakes for, 115 

— succession of, 100 
Plumbago larpenta, 219 
Polyanthus, 33 
Poppies, Himalayan, 9 

— Iceland, 95 

— Nankeen, 72, 95 

— Oriental, 2, 33, 72, 77, 92, 98, 
loo. Ml ,120 

Portulaca, 74 



Potentilla, common yellow, the, 72 

— single yellow, 98 
Potting, preparing for, 283 

— soil for, 283 
Primroses, 1 10 

— Asiatic, 6 

— evening, 120 

— — Oenothera biennis^ 120 

— speciosa, 120 

taraxacif^tia, 80, 120 

Youngii, 120 

Pyrethrums, 1 1 5 

Resemblance, aggressive, 237 

— protective, 237 
"Revellers," 121 
Rheum, giant, 2 
Ridgeway, the, 271 
Robins, 307 
Rockets, double, 290 

— root division of, 291 

— single, 291 

— when to plant, 291 

— white, 292 
Romneya coulteri, 9, 79 
Rooks, 310 

Roots, how to store, 1 50 
Roses, Christmas, 71, 209 

— Lenten, 209 

" Roses, climbing," 93 
Roses, climbing, 93 

— ■ — Ayrshire, 119 

Crimson Rambler, 1 1 8 

Flora, 118 

— — Garland, the, ii8 

— aphis on, 70 

— and bulbs, 28 

— to prune, 13, 293 

— tea, to prune, 27, 38 

— standard, 282 

— when to plant, 222 

— worms in, 70 
Roses, list of — 

Baroness Rothschild, 118, 294 
Bouquet d'or, 93 
Briars, 222 

Roses, list of — 

Captain Christy, 13, 117 

Chestnut hybrid, 93 

Clio, 117 

Countess of Oxford, 117 

Ella Gordon, 117 

Eugen Fiirst, 117 

Gloire de Dijon, 93 

Her Majesty, 118 

Jean Liabaud, 117 

La France, 222 

Lamarck, 93 

L'lddal, 93 

Madame Gabrielle Luizet, 117 

Margaret Dickson, 117 

Marie Baumann, 117 

Mrs. John Laing, 117 

Reine Marie Henriette, 94 

Salamander, 117 

Spencer, 118 

Ulrich Brunner, 117, 222 

Violette Bouyer, 1 1 7 

Williams, A. K., 117 
Rustic of advanced views, the, 123 

— the religion of the, 256 

Salvia patens, 305 

Saponaria ocymoides, 78, loi 

Sawfly, the, 233 

Saxifrage, bulbous, 73 

Scillas, 6, 253 

S cilia siberica, 177 

Seeds, good, important, 147 

— how to order, 147 
Seraphina, 193 

" Shepherd on Cunnigaw Hill 

the,'* 243 
St. John's wort, 2 
Smilax, 187 

"Smihng by the roadside," 155 
Snapdragons, 8, 92, 287 
Snowdrops, 181, 253, 310 

— Galanthus nivalis, 292 
Elwesii, 293 

— Foster's, 293 
Snowflake, 6 
Sole Wood, 227 



Solomon's seal, 187 
Sparmannia, 190 
Sparrows, 307 
Spiders, 239 
Spiraeas, 222 

— longifolia, 305 
Spring, signs of, 295 
Squills, 27, 177, 280 

— and snowflakes, 280 
St. Swithun's Day, 120 
Stakes, 115 

— renewed, 252 
Starlings, 309 

Statice latifolia, 79, 149 
Statices, 79, 288 
Sterculus, 17, 297 

— sees a ghost, 299 
"Sterculus Picumnus," 18 
Stocks, 145, 287, 304 

— Mauve Beauty, 304 
Sunflowers, annual, 206 
Sweet peas, 78, 79, 148, 153 

Red Riding Hood, 148 

■ varieties of, when to sow, 


when to sow, 221 

Sweet-william, 33 
Syntri Weg, 228 
Syringe, Abol, 70 

Tagetes, 145, 147 
"The consequences were obvious," 

"Thee an' I 'ool battle," 266 

" This here sketch is up to date,'' 

Thrushes, 310 
Tobacco plants, 285 
" Tommy Sandford," 68 
Tomtits, 309 

Touch and smell in birds, 55 
Trichiosoma tenthedrion, 232 
Trilliums, 7 
Triteleia uniflora, 181 
Tritonia, 96 

— crocosmiceflora, 96 

— Pottsi, 96 

Tubs, 189 

" Tubs and hanging baskets," 76 

Tulips, 28, 98 

— succession of, to ensure, 1 76 

— to water, 181 

— under glass, hints on, 177 
Tulips, list of — 

Artus, 29 

Brutus, 29 

Chrysolora, 176, 278 

Cottage Maid, 180 

Dusant, 180 

Due van Tholl, scarlet, 6, 176, 
180, 253 

Joost van Vondel, 180 

La Candeur, 176 

La Reine, 29, 176, 280 

Mon Trdsor, i8o, 278 

parrot, 74 

Pottebakker, 180, 278 

Ro5e Blanche, 176 

Tournesol, 176 

Yellow Rose, 176 
Twae-blade, 73 
"Two naughty girls came by," 


Verbena, 306 

— Lemon, 187 
Vicar, the new, 255 
Viola cormita, 82 
Violets, 284 

— beds to prepare, 184 

— for autumn blooming, 37 

— how to treat in winter, 185 

— Marie Louise, 187, 220 

— plentiful, 220 

— Princess of Wales, 187, 220 

— profuse blooming, 187 

— white, Count Brazza, 188 

Wallflowers, 33, 91, 192, 222 

— varieties of, 193 
Wasp, 238 

" We always looks after the sex," 

Weeding, 68, 79 



Werge, Bill, 211 
— his will, 211 
Wessex, religion in, 256 
" What do he say, Betty ? " 64 
White weed, 73 
"White weed in a grove," 73 
Wild garden, the, 6 
Winter evenings, how to employ, 

Wood hyacinth, the, 74 
Woodpecker, 55 
Woodruff, III 
Wych elms, 310 

Zauschneria californica, 100 
Zinnias, 146 

Zonal pelargoniums {vide Pelar- 










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Mathers (Helen). HONEY. 



Meade (Mrs. L. T.). DRIFT. 

Mitford (Bertram). THE SIGN OF THE 

MontresoigP. P.), THE ALIEN. 
Moore( Arthur). THE GAY DECEIVERS. 
Morrison (Arthur),. THE HOLE IN 

Neibit(E.). THE RED HOUSE. 
Norris(W. E.). HIS GRACE. 
Oliphant (Mrs.). THE LADY'S WALK. 
Oppenheim (E. Phillips). MASTER OF 

Parlcer (Gilbert). THE POMP OF THE 

Pemberton (Max). THE FOOTSTEPS 

PhiUpotts (Eden), THE HUMAN BOY. 
Rfdge (W. Pett). A SON OF THE STATE. 
Russell (W. Clark). A MARRIAGE AT 


Sergeant (Adeline). THE MASTER OF 

Surtees (R. S.). HANDLEY CROSS. 


ASK MAMMA. Illustrated. 
Valenflne (Major E. S.). VELDT AND 

Walford (MrSw L. B.). MR. SMITH. 

WaUace (General Lew). BEN-HUR. 
Watson (H. B. Marriot). THE ADVEN- 

Weekes (A. B.). PRISONERS OF WAR. 
White (Percy). A PASSIONATE